Friday, October 1, 2010

More on Contador's Beef Story

Several theories about about how Contador (AC) may have ended up with the trace amount of clenbuterol in his blood. One possible theory being explored is that AC was using clenbuterol weeks before the Tour de France and thought it had cleared his system when he then gave blood for future blood doping.  Then, on the rest day, he transfused his blood (with the trace amount of clenbuterol) and the clenbuterol showed up the next day in his urine.

Some experts are alleging that those who transfuse blood have higher amounts of plastic residues from the blood transfusion bags and reports are going around that AC showed a high concentration of plastic in addition to clenbuterol. (Interestingly, one reader pointed out to me that this may be what happened to Floyd when he ended up with excess testosterone in his blood. It's possible that the reason he is still claiming he didn't take testosterone the night before he failed the test is that he transfused his blood from a prior period and the blood had excess testosterone in it.)

Apparently, the UCI has another theory that allows Contador to keep the yellow jersey and for pro cycling to save some face. To have another Tour de France winner lose his yellow jersey would be bad for business and would reflect poorly on the UCI. As for the UCI's theory, Contador gave the following account:
"On the 26th we talked at length about how all this had happened. The UCI itself told me to my face that it was a case of food contamination," Contador said. He said he has been in conversations with the UCI ever since "to handle this the most appropriate way possible and analyze it and see clearly that it is a case of food contamination in which I am the victim."
I know I'm not the only one who finds it odd that as the UCI is informing Contador that he failed a doping test, he is also told that it was because of what he ate! An obvious question is: How would the UCI know this? Did they have a sample of his food from the night before too? Also, would they treat other riders this way? In fact, earlier this year, two riders, Alessandro Colo and Li Fuyu (from RadioShack), were suspended after testing positive for clenbuterol. Did the UCI know that these riders ate pasta the night before instead of a 48 oz. ribeye like all yellow jersey winners eat during the Tour de France?

If the UCI ends up sticking with this story and allows AC to keep his yellow jersey, this will certainly be an interesting precedent. I wonder what will happen the next time someone shows up with a trace amount of CERA in their blood. "Well, I ate a big steak from Peru the night before, it must have been in that. Everyone knows that the Peruvian farmers raise their cattle on CERA because of the altitude."

Finally, since when is steak the preferred meal of Tour de France riders? Apparently, AC's teammate Vinokourov was also tested that day and did not show any clenbuterol. The story is that, AC had his steak brought in because he didn't like the hotel food, but Vino liked the hotel food and he ate there.

Well, I don't know about you but it appears to me that the spin machine is going faster than Lance Armstrong's TT cadence--about 120 tales per minute...


  1. Why do you waste your time writing these articles about a sport you are clearly disgusted with?

  2. David, although I'm disgusted by the doping, I love cycling and hope that enough people see what's going on and demand changes. If not, I'm afraid that cycling will be all about doping. The sport will cater to what fans want. If fans are okay with doping or if they choose to ignore it then we will have a sport dominated by doping. The best dopers will win and if you aren't doping, you can't hope to win. We have to go back decades to see a Tour de France winner who has never been implicated in doping. I believe that needs to change and hope it will!

  3. David, they're not a waste of time at all. Articles like these help expose the methods of the dopers. What we're finding is that they went to extraordinary lengths to cheat. They utilized some very smart people in helping them cheat, and it requires some smart people to tear it all down.

    A lot of people come into reading about this stuff without a good historical background in regards to past cases. A lot has been written over the past 20 years on the topic, and it is very helpful when people who have knowledge of these writings get together and share what they know and remember.

    Mark loves the sport. To consider them dopers and the sport "one and the same" is probably more indicative of a problem with you, and not with Mark.

  4. And David, why do I waste MY time on such a topic? First, I do not consider it a waste at all. Exposing cheats feels quite natural to me as a role I've assumed. Everyone has their roles. What fun would ever-increasing average speeds in the TDF be without the detractors who point-out that it's not possible to have such massive jumps in human performance in such a short period of time?