World Doping Rejects Contador Meat Story

Contador when he won the 2010 Tour de France. Photo: Jennifer Benepe (r)

The World Doping Agency has discredited Alberto Contador’s claim that the banned substance found in his urine came from tainted meat, reported the El Pais newspaper yesterday.


Still, Contador’s lawyers shot back with a statement that the UCI’s findings did not eliminate the possibility that contaminated meat could have been the cause for findings of 50 picograms of Clenbuterol in the Spanish cyclist’s system.

But in the first article, El Pais details how one of the investigators, Julien Sieveking, visited the meat store in Irun, Spain where the contaminated meat is supposed to have been bought by Jose Luis Lopez Cerron, and in “none of the inspections, in none of the analyses done with the owners of the meat, was there found any clenbuterol,” wrote Carlos Arribas for El Pais. (See below for Spanish language quote, it’s far more powerful.)

“En ninguna de las inspecciones, en ninguno de los análisis efectuados a las muestras de carne, se halló rastro alguno de clembuterol,”

What’s worse, WADA looked at a 2008 study of Clenbuterol in meat performed in the European Union and found that out of 300,000 inspections, only one—-one—-had evidence of Clenbuterol.

Further, a study by a research institute in Croatia of pig meat that had been given Clenbuterol found that the substance will show up in a pig if it is killed one day after the dosage is given to the animal. But normally to escape detection, and because there is not point in administering the hormone right before an animal is slaughtered (because it is for growth and that takes time,) animals are given the growth hormone at most 2 weeks, and more likely 20 days, before being slaughtered, and by then the presence of clenbuterol is undetectable.

WADA has now rejected Contador’s argument that contaminated meat could be the cause of detection of the banned substance in his urine, and also will not consider the idea that Contador, who suffers from asthma, may have inhaled Clenbuterol through an anti-asthma medication: the cyclist was officially authorized to take a bronchial dilator during the Tour, but not for one containing Clenbuterol.

Contador’s lawyers maintain that without the actual meat that Contador consumed, the UCI and WADA have proved nothing. “The information presented by the UCI does not absolutely disprove the hypothesis of food contamination, and “is not enough to base an accusation on “Alberto Contador that the origin of the Clenbuterol found in his urine had to be an act of doping.”

“El informe presentado por la UCI no descarta en absoluto la hipótesis de la contaminación alimentaria, al tiempo que adolece del rigor necesario para que, basándose en él, se pueda acusar a Alberto Contador de que el origen del clembuterol hallado en su orina se debe a un acto de dopaje”.

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