Alberto Contador accused of doping in 2010 Tour de France win
Alberto Contador has been accused of doping during his victory in the 2010 Tour de France. Image: CC hyku/Flickr

Alberto Contador of Spain tested positive for a banned substance during the 2010 Tour de France, which he won. In a news conference Thursday, he strenuously denied that he cheated for his third victory in the event. Facing a two-year ban from cycling and being stripped of his Tour title, Contador blamed eating tainted meat.

Contador blames tainted meat

Alberto Contador, considered the world’s greatest cyclist racing today, tested positive on July 21, a day before the toughest mountain stage of the Tour de France. The New York Times reports that a statement released Wednesday by the International Cycling Union said two urine samples taken from Contador that day tested positive for traces of clenbuterol, a weight-loss and muscle-building drug. In a news conference Thursday, Contador called himself a victim and said he had eaten meat tainted with the drug at his hotel. He also said the tiny amount of clenbuterol found in his samples would not have enhanced his performance.

Contador linked with doping in the past

Contador’s next challenge will be to clear his name. CNN reports that he was provisionally suspended from racing by the International Cycling Union. In a sport plagued by doping, Contador’s career includes being linked with a Spanish blood-doping ring in 2006. He won his first Tour de France in 2007. In 2008 he joined Astana, a team that was banned from the race for doping violations. He won his second Tour title in 2009. Lance Armstrong, a seven-time winner, finished third. So far, the only winner of the Tour de France stripped of his title after testing positive was American Floyd Landis.

Some experts believe Contador’s claim

Some experts believe Contador’s claim that tainted meat caused his positive doping test. Universal Sports reports that clenbuterol is often given to chicken, cows and pigs to speed up growth. It accumulates in the liver and muscle tissue. Clenbuterol is used by bodybuilders to increase muscle mass and burn fat. The drug also increases aerobic capacity by making more oxygen available to muscles. Its short term effects are similar to amphetamines. But Dr. Andrew Franklyn-Miller, a sports medicine expert, told Universal that it would have been impossible for Contador to get a boost from eating clenbuterol-spiked meat.

Sources

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/sports/cycling/01cycling.html?ref=sports

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2010/SPORT/09/30/cycling.alberto.contador.banned/index.html?npt=NP1

Universal Sports: http://www.universalsports.com/news/article/newsid=494315.html

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