WADA disputes Contador's contaminated meat theory

Alberto Contador leads, Paris-Nice 2010, stage five

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has produced a report for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) strongly disputing the theory that Alberto Contador's Tour de France clenbuterol positive arose from 'tainted meat'.

Tour winner Contador tested positve for clenbuterol during the race and immediately suggested that he must have ingested the substance by eating tainted meat brought by a friend from Spain to France.

According to an article in Spanish paper El Pais, which claims to have seen a copy of the report, WADA tested meat from both the butcher and abattoir in Irun from which Contador's meat originated and found that none contained clenbuterol.

The report also states that a 2008 European Union study found that only one of 300,000 meat samples tested across Europe returned a positive test for clenbuterol, adding weight to the argument that it is highly unlikely that Contador's clenbuterol came from tainted meat.

In the past, Clenbuterol has been administered to livestock by unscrupulous farmers to accelerate growth of animals, but its use has been banned across Europe for over 10 years. In humans, as it does in farm animals, clenbuterol helps to increase the ratio of muscle to fat and has been used by body builders and athletes to trim back excess weight prior to competition without affecting muscle mass.

WADA's report was prepared for the RFEC for use in assessing Contador's case before deciding on whether he should be suspensed from competition for failing the test in July. A copy was passed to the UCI before being sent to the Spanish federation.

Contador's legal team quickly issued a statement dismissing the El Pais report, and saying that the WADA report states that it could not be determined whether the meat was tainted or not rather than dismissing the theory outright.

Either way, the report is now in the hands of RFEC, who must decide the fate of Contador in the coming weeks.

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