Tour de France champ Alberto Contador blames bad meat for positive drug test
Alberto Contador, the three-time Tour de France champion, said bad meat is the reason he tested positive for a banned substance in a doping test administered during this year's Tour.
"It is a clear case of food contamination of which I am the victim," Contador, who has been suspended by the International Cycling Union pending an investigation, said in a press conference this morning (video here) in his hometown of Pinto, Spain (via BBC). He added that his suspension is "a clear mistake."
"It's possible to put your hand in the fire and not burn yourself," Contador, 27, later told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope (via The Guardian). "If it had been a clear case of doping, it would have come out a week later. The food poisoning came from a cut of meat from Spain."
Earlier today, the UCI announced that the World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Germany had found a "very small concentration" of clenbuterol, a weight-loss and muscle-building drug that is banned, in Contador's urine sample on July 21.
Clenbuterol, Contador said, "is a substance that does not help performance, and this [tiny] quantity is completely insignificant to improve physical improvement."
Contador explained that, because of complaints about the food at the hotel where the team was staying, meat was brought across the border from Spain to France on a Tour rest day. He says he ate the meat July 20 and 21.
"The UCI itself affirmed in front of me that it was a case of food contamination," he said. "This is a genuine mistake, it's sad that a sport such as this... is involved in things like this. "I think that this will be resolved in a clear way, with the truth up front," he said, adding that the UCI "understands that is a special case, which has to be examined."
Doping in convenient list form
| September 30, 2010; 7:32 AM ET
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