Alberto Contador held a press conference in Pinto, Spain, today in an attempt to begin clearing his name in wake of the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) announcement that he has tested positive for clenbuterol.

“I am the victim of this situation,” Contador said, “and I will continue to hold my head high whether people believe in me or not.”

The 2010 Tour de France winner was tested on July 21, the second rest day of the Tour, and his urine sample was found to have minute traces of the banned substance.

Contador claimed that the positive had come about after eating beef brought to France by a friend, Tour of Castille and Leon race organiser Jose Luis Lopez Cerron. The problem, Contador said, was that the beef contained the substance because it had been used to artificially increase the body mass of the animal it had come from.

Contador then ate the meat in two sittings, one before the second rest day and one during it. The only reason he had eaten it, he said, was because he felt morally obliged to Lopez Cerron after the Spaniard had brought it all the way to him in France.

As race leader, Contador was the only rider from his team to eat the beef and then be tested on the rest day. On August 24 he was told he had tested positive, in both ‘A’ and B’ samples’, for the banned substance.

Contador’s defence is essentially that both the quantities taken are so small as to make no difference to his physical perfomance, that he did not knowingly take it and that only four laboratories in the world can actually detect such small quantities of clenbuterol. By a series of bizarre coincidences, he was the only rider from Astana to eat the contaminated meat and then be tested.

“The system is very questionable and it has to be changed,” Contador insisted. “It’s such a small quantity that it’s impossible to take any other way apart from through food, and at performance level it does absolutely nothing for you.”

“My legal defence is as follows: look at the results: that day it was minimal, the next day there was even less, and the day after it’s completely disappeared.”

“I can’t understand what is happening, I think this is going to be resolved and with the truth in hand we can get some kind of justice for me. It’s a real mistake.”

Perhaps burying his head in the sand, Contador said he refused to consider the possibility that he could face a penalisation for his error.

“I can’t believe that would happen, it wouldn’t be right,” he claimed. However, apparently the Spanish president of the Cycling Federation has said that Contador “can count on him.” Whatever happens, it is highly likely that this case will not be resolved quickly.

The three time Tour winner highlighted the amount that was found, estimated at 50 picograms (or 0.000,000,000,05 grams per ml). “I gave another sample one day after and they didn’t find anything. It was a very, very small amount found in my urine and the next day it was gone. It was detected in the laboratory in Cologne, if it was sent to any other laboratory they wouldn’t have found it as the amount is so small.”

Clenbuterol is widely used in asthma medicines around the world due to its bronchodilating properties. However, it is also a powerful metabolism accelerator and can be used to build muscle.

The drug is approved for use in the European Union for cattle and horse use but is banned in pig feed.

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Contador tests positive for Clenbuterol says governing body

  • Ken Evans

    0.000,000,000,05 grams per ml
    of isn’t going make enough of a difference,
    for all the hassles of banning Contador from the Tour.

    WADA need minimum amounts for each banned substance,
    before publicly declaring anyone “positive”.

    All the bad publicity of doping isn’t good for cycling.

  • Heb D

    Is Contador having a laugh?
    Just look back at the tour itself and watch how he behaved when Andy Schleck dropped his chain on that crucial mountain stage. Contador was under tremendous sporting pressure and chose to cheat with a ready made excuse about beef brought to him from Spain. Contador, do a favor, don’t insult mine and every cycling fans’ intelligence.
    I can’t believe he even has the face to come out with that excuse. Your lying is done, accept it as a man, end off.

  • Mike

    Paul C. You may be right regarding Puerto being shelved cos other sports were involved.
    Imagine football having to own up to and deal with a doping scandal. LOL.
    Lets face it ,the football authorities would never let it come to the publics attention. Money talks.

  • Richard

    This article and the discussion underneath is very useful

  • paul c

    I dont think he has doped…but as allways in the cycling community there is always going to be that question mark.
    As said earlyer its strange how Operation puerto got pushed under the carpet… doubt due to the other sporting personalities involved and big under the counter money being thrown about to keep a lid on it. it seems its one rule for one sport and another rule for others. I think it should be all one big doping body testing anyone and naming and shaming them and life bans to deter them or anyone from doing it. untill this happens it will always be an issue.

  • Aaron

    This is…..ridiculous. Blaming a banned substance on your food? What is next? Blaming it on the polluted air or something? I have never heard of something so insane. This is so frustrating when people cannot accept responsibilty. Dude thinks everyone is stupid.

  • Martin

    If it’s true his tests from the two days prior to the positive show nothing, as Dr. Douwe de Boer asserts, and he only tests positive for the minute-ist amount where is not going to make any material difference, it’s very hard to conclude anything other than Contador is completely innocent. Maybe he should go vegetarian though….

  • Jon

    If the level is that low and they have samples prior to the second rest day which don’t have any detectable clenbuterol that would indicate he can’t have been using it to dope because he can only have ingested a very low level (i.e. too low to give any prefomrance benefit) rather than the low level being due to him having taken a significant amount at an earlier date and a couple of weeks having elapsed before he was tested. I don’t know how long it takes this stuff to leave the sytem but I imagine the UCI could determine this.

    When was his last test before this one and has it been rechecked for clenbuterol?

  • arronski

    bye bye, naughty naughty bet Bjarne Riis is so p****d right now!!

  • simon hursthouse

    Is he telling porkies? It seems clenbuterol’s banned in many places even as animal feed. Maybe a Google search would show if it’s illegal for Spanish pigs.

  • Colin

    This story appears to be factually incorrect. Contador stated in his press conference that the tainted meat was brought from Spain by a friend – and not provided by the hotel. And it WAS prepared by the team chef.

  • Colnago dave

    So now we can not eat meat or any type of foods, If his reason for the ubstance being detected is contaminated food where do we o from here.
    It would seem that before food is prepared a drug test needs to be performed on it and given the amount of growth foods fed to the oodchain we are ll at risk.
    If this is the case then this particular test is obsolete as every cyclist who has een found o have traces in it will simply blame the food chain and explain away different amounts found by saying they were really hungry that day.

  • Mike

    Untill recently I would have taken what Alberto says at face value, but I seem to have become cynical regarding pro cyclists excuses of late.
    A top pro team eating standard hotel menue food?
    I hope he is being truthfull but Operation Puerto, that seems to have been conveniently sidelined, may sugest otherwise.

  • laughable

    Perhaps he should try the famous Daniel Plaza Nandrolone defence and try to implicate and blame it on Andy Schleck.