Contador denies substance abuse after allegations

2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs in July while racing.

Contador is a three time race winner, however, after this year’s race, traces of the drug clenbuterol were found in his bloodstream. Clenbuterol is often used by bodybuilders or athletes to build muscle mass while losing body weight. Not surprisingly, Contador is pleading “not guilty,” to this accusation.

He was quoted in an NBC news report saying, “The UCI [International Cycling Union] has always asked me not to tell this to anyone… so it could be resolved in the best way. It was not a positive event, but [it was a] very detailed matter that requires very detailed analysis.”

According to Contador, he had eaten a fillet minion earlier and he attributes the traces of clenbuterol in his blood to the meat being tainted.

This statement could be considered true since it has been found that some farmers do illegally feed their livestock clenbuterol in order to enhance their product. As well, the amount of clenbuterol in Contador’s blood stream was minimal.

However, William McTeer, professor of kinesiology at Laurier, shed some insight on the subject. “Obviously there was enough to be caught. No other athletes ate meat?” questioned McTeer. “He could have taken the drug days before. Drugs like that don’t diminish quickly, they diminish over time. Maybe by the time he was tested, the drug amount had already diminished significantly.”

According to an article in the New York Times, doctors who tested Contador’s blood stream also found pieces of plastic along with traces of clenbuterol.

They suspect this is from an illegal blood transfusion that provides an endurance boost. The article cited scientist Douwe de Bouer who stated: “I consider food contamination a high possibility, but I cannot exclude this other option, either.”

In an interview by the National Reporter, previous Tour de France winner Bernard Kohl shared his opinion on Contador’s situation.

“People know in cycling that’s it’s not possible to win the Tour de France without [drugs],” said Kohl. “It’s three weeks, 3,000 kilometres and you climb [the equivalent of] Mount Everest four times. That’s just not possible.”
Kohl said he didn’t want to speculate on whether Contador cheated, although he added it’s hard to think otherwise.

McTeer agrees. “It is very difficult for those cyclists to complete the tour completely clean. The demands are exceptionally high and you can’t compete without using some form of banned drug.”

“The anti-doping committee in charge of the rules bans almost everything in order to make this event a clean one,” he continued.

This, however, is exceptionally hard on the racers. This is not to say that McTeer agrees with performance enhancing drugs. “I’m just saying that there’s a conflict within the athletes who actually compete and the committee that controls them.”

“People want to see the biggest, the fastest, the strongest and the athletes who live up to these standards are rewarded,” said McTeer.

“Athletes who aren’t as good feel the need to enhance their performance and hope they don’t get caught. The athletes who are at the top feel the pressure to stay there.”

McTeer concluded that it seems to be a vicious cycle for athletes.