Alberto Contador tested positive on the final day (or the second rest day, depending on accounts) of the 2010 Tour de France for the banned bronchodilator clenbuterol. You can read the available details below but , while I'm not a big fan of Alberto, this would be a horrific blow to professional cycling. It sounds like what I'd refer to as a technical infraction in which little or no performance benefit would be derived; however, the UCI, the AFLD(French anti-doping agency), and Tour organizer ASO would be hard-pressed to let it go, so we'll see how well Contador's explanations hold up over the next few days. As many of you may recall, he was implicated and then cleared in the Operacion Puerto* investigation. Here's hoping that in this case he's found not to be at fault for the sake of the sport.
By Charles Pelkey • Updated: Sep 29th 2010 8:20 PM EDT
Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has scheduled a news conference for Thursday to address news of an apparent positive test for the bronchodilator clenbuterol.
Contador, a three-time winner of the French national tour, apparently tested positive for the drug in tests conducted on the final day of this year’s edition of the Tour and was notified of the result on August 24.
According to a release issued by his publicist, Contador is scheduled to hold a press conference at noon Thursday at the Hotel Las Artes in his hometown of Pinto, Spain. Contador has assembled a group of experts who will contend that the positive test is the result of “food contamination.”
“The experts consulted so far have agreed also that this is a food contamination case, especially considering the number of tests passed by Alberto Contador during the Tour de France,” the release asserted.
Contador said that a review of data supplied by the UCI makes it “possible to define precisely both the time of the emergence of the substance as well as the tiny amount detected, ruling out any other source or intentionality.”
Clenbuterol is a synthetic bronchodilator often prescribed to asthma sufferers. It is also regarded as a stimulant and has recently been used in off-label prescriptions as a weight-loss drug akin to ephedrine. The drug is banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substances list, and specifically banned under Article 21 of the UCI’s anti-doping rules.
Most recently, RadioShack’s Fuyu Li was suspended after testing positive for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour of Flanders.
While Contador appears to be challenging the result of his A sample, he has the option of requesting and overseeing the retesting of a second sample. Failing that, he risks becoming only the second rider in the history of the Tour de France to be stripped of his title because of a doping violation. American Floyd Landis was found guilty of a doping violation following the 2006 Tour.