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Tour De France Champ Contador Blames Tained Meat For Positive Drug Test

Alberto Contador

The latest blow to hit the cycling world came earlier this week when reports revealed that Tour de France champion Alberto Contador tested positive for a banned substance during this year’s race. On Thursday, Contador answered these allegations with an explanation that is unique, if nothing else—he blamed the positive test result on ‘tainted meat’ that he ate during the race. The sport’s anti-doping authority reportedly found a ‘very small concentration’ of the banned substance clenbuterol in Contador’s bloodstream.

Contador says that the meat in question was brought across the border from Spain to France and prepared on a rest day at the request of his team’s chef. He was steadfast in asserting his innocence as he commented on the allegations:

"It is a clear case of food contamination. I am sad and disappointed but hold my head high."

"I think this is going to be resolved in a clear way. With the truth behind you, you can speak loud and clear, and I am confident justice will prevail."

His story is at least theoretically plausible, since clenbuterol is sometimes given to livestock to increase growth. According to Contador, the beef was purchased by Spanish cycling honcho Jose Luis Lopez Cerron in response to a complaint about the poor quality of meat served at the hotel where the team was staying.

Contador said that he learned about the positive test in late August and that it was the cycling governing body (UCI) that first raised the possibility of it being caused by tainted meat:

"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 again stressed his innocence at the conclusion of the press conference:

"It's almost normal for people to doubt this sport now. The idea of anyone questioning my Tour victory does not worry me. I am not going to let something like this destroy everything I have done."

The only response from the UCI was that an investigation is on-going:

"The UCI continues working with the scientific support of WADA to analyze all the elements that are relevant to the case. This further investigation may take some more time.”

The on-going investigation means that there’s no timeframe for determining if Contador will be stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title and/or subject to additional punishment.

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