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Tour winner Contador pleads innocence in doping case

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-09-30

Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador, who won his third Tour de France this year, has been provisionally suspended after a doping test taken during the Tour in July revealed traces of a banned substance.

Three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador pleaded innocent on Thursday after he was provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (ICU) in the latest doping affair to rattle the world of professional cycling.
Cycling journalist Francois Thomazeau reports on Contador doping scandal
Contador, repeating a statement which he issued earlier for the Spanish press, told a news conference in his hometown near Madrid that the test result was “a clear case of food contamination,” and called the ICU’s suspension “a true mistake.”
The Spanish cyclist said the contaminated meat was brought across the border from Spain to France during a rest day at the Tour. He said there were complaints about the food at the hotel where the team was staying.
The ICU announced Contador’s provisional suspension on Thursday, saying a doping test the rider took in July found traces of clenbuterol, a banned anabolic agent.
A statement on the ICU’s website said the case would require further investigation before any conclusion could be drawn and that a final decision could take more time.
The ICU said that the “adverse analytical finding” of clenbuterol, was detected in a urine sample taken during the second rest day of this year’s Tour de France. A very small concentration of the doping agent prompted a second analysis that confirmed the initial result, the cycling authority said.
For Jean-Rene Godard, a sports consultant and cycling specialist, Contador’s claim of innocence is suspicious. “All biochemists will agree that meat contains clenbuterol, but I think it’s strange to blame a Spanish meat that was imported from Spain on July 19, stored on the 20th and cooked on July 21,” he told FRANCE 24.

Contador, the current Tour de France champion, also won the Tour in 2007 and 2009, besides winning the 2008 Giro in Italy and the 2008 Vuelta in Spain.
US rider Floyd Landis lost his 2006 Tour de France crown after testing positive for doping.
Investigators in Los Angeles have started interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence in an investigation on seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.


Date created : 2010-09-30


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