Doping scandals and the Tour de France seem to go together like peanuts and peanut butter. Three-time and 2010 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has tested positive for a banned steroid, clenbuterol, taken during the race. But rest not lovers of sport and truth...Contador has a perfectly reasonable explanation for his failed doping test: bad meat. "It is a food contamination case of which I am the victim," Contador said.
Contador, of Spain, who has now been provisionally suspended from cycling by the Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling's governing body. But Contador remains adamant that he is innocent and that the food contamination theory is for real. According to Contador, several riders ate bad meat during the race. After he tested positive, Contador says that he asked the UCI which other riders passed the test, CNN.com reports "...the only one who passed the control ... was Alexandre Vinokourov. [He was the only one of the riders] who did not eat the meat on that day."
Contador will now fight to clear his name. You know how well that has worked out in the past for other Tour de France champions, such as Floyd Landis. Meanwhile, the UCI announced that it had already tested a second "sample B" that confirmed the first result. The UCI announced that it will not have further comment for the time being: "In order to protect the integrity of the proceedings and in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI will refrain from making any further comments until the management of this adverse analytical finding has been completed."
CNN.com interviewed Daniel Friebe, editor of Pro Cycling magazine, who believes that Alberto Contador could be telling the truth and that his situation differs from other failed doping tests. "It's well known that clenbuterol is used on cattle. This is an alibi that's been used before and it's been verified before..."
I will be interesting to see how this plays out. We will keep an eye on the case. In the meantime, cyclists had best keep an eye, or make that a microscope, on their meat.
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