Okay … I’m not a Contador fan, and it’s doubtful I ever will be … so when I first heard the news about his positive test yesterday, part of me was overjoyed. But now more details are available; specifically the UCI release regarding the positive test, and the levels of Clenbuterol which were detected.

“The UCI confirmed today that Spanish rider Alberto Contador returned an adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol following the analysis of urine sample taken during an in competition test on 21st July 2010 on the second rest day of the Tour de France. This result was reported by the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne to UCI and WADA simultaneously.

“The concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms (or 0,000 000 000 05 grams per ml) which is 400 time less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA must be able to detect.”

“In view of this very small concentration and in consultation with WADA, the UCI immediately had the proper results management proceedings conducted including the analysis of B sample that confirmed the first result. The rider, who had already put an end to his cycling season before the result was known, was nevertheless formally and provisionally suspended as is prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code.

“This case required further scientific investigation before any conclusion could be drawn. The UCI continues working with the scientific support of WADA to analyse all the elements that are relevant to the case. This further investigation may take some more time.

“In order to protect the integrity of the proceedings and in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI will refrain from making any further comments until the management of this adverse analytical finding has been completed.”

via Alberto Contador Suspended Over Traces Of Clenbuterol From Tour De France Test | Cyclingnews.com.

So in order to be accredited, the lab must be able to detect 20 nanograms per milliliter, already an amazingly small amount, and in this case the amount detected was 400 times less than that. An amount that small, on the rest day, with no detection either the day before or the day after the positive test?

This definitely leads me to think that a case of accidental ingestion due to contamination is possible, and certainly that there was no benefit to performance gained.

As much as it pains me to admit it, I’m inclined to let it slide in this case …