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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 30, 2010

Date published:
September 30, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Contador's contaminated food: excuse or possibility?

    Alberto Contador can't wait to don the yellow jersey for the final time this Tour.
    Article published:
    September 30, 2010, 3:12 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Anti-doping expert: Clenbuterol contamination plausible

    News that Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has tested positive for the banned stimulant clenbuterol has raised the question: is his assertion that food or supplement contamination is responsible for the result plausible? Cyclingnews spoke with expert Dr. Don Catlin of Anti-Doping Research, Inc. to find out.

    "Without knowing what the level [of clenbuterol] in his sample is, it's impossible to say," Catlin said. His laboratory works with supplement makers to detect drug contaminants, and Catlin said that clenbuterol is one of the more common contaminats found in supplements.

    In 2008, Catlin's lab worked on the case of swimmer Jessica Hardy, who sat out of competition for two years after testing positive for clenbuterol, and found the drug in supplements that she was taking. Hardy used the information to sue the manufacturer.

    The drug is a stimulant as well as an anabolic agent, and because of these properties it is not prescribed in its primary use an anti-asthma medication in the US.

    In the past the drug was popular amongst athletes before testing was introduced. Djamolidin Abdoujaparov was banned for life after testing positive for the drug at the 1997 Tour de France. It is now easily detectable and tends to remain in the body for an extended period of time, making it a poor choice as far as performance enhancing drugs go.

    Can Contador keep his Tour de France title?

    The anti-doping rules state that an athlete is responsible for what enters his or her body, and many athletes have fought doping positives with the contaminated supplement defense and lost.

    Most recently, Belgian Iljo Keisse, who was acquitted of doping by his national federation after successfully using the defense, had his ban re-instated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    However, the UCI's statement issued early Thursday, which made public the level of the drug (50 picograms/millilitre, or 40 times...

  • Alberto Contador suspended over traces of clenbuterol from Tour de France test

    Alberto Contador (Astana) celebrates his third Tour win
    Article published:
    September 30, 2010, 3:15 BST
    By:
    Greg Johnson

    UCI: Contador positive requires 'further scientific investigation'

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed the suspension of Tour de France champion Alberto Contador after traces of clenbuterol were found in a sample from July 21. The governing body highlighted that the amount of clenbuterol was 400 times less than the amount World Anti-Doping Agency accredited labs must be able to detect.

    The following is the UCI's release in full addressing the matter:

    “The UCI confirmed today that Spanish rider Alberto Contador returned an adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol following the analysis of urine sample taken during an in competition test on 21st July 2010 on the second rest day of the Tour de France. This result was reported by the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne to UCI and WADA simultaneously.

    “The concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms (or 0,000 000 000 05 grams per ml) which is 400 time less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA must be able to detect.”

    “In view of this very small concentration and in consultation with WADA, the UCI immediately had the proper results management proceedings conducted including the analysis of B sample that confirmed the first result. The rider, who had already put an end to his cycling season before the result was known, was nevertheless formally and provisionally suspended as is prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code.

    “This case required further scientific investigation before any conclusion could be drawn. The UCI continues working with the scientific support of WADA to analyse all the elements that are relevant to the case. This further investigation may take some more time.

    “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...

  • Pooley primed for Worlds road race

    Emma Pooley (Great Britain) shows off her gold medal.
    Article published:
    September 30, 2010, 5:27 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Team unity the strength of powerful British squad

    After her win in yesterday's elite women's time trial, newly-crowned world champion Emma Pooley will now turn her attention to the road race decider on Saturday but has played down suggestions she's a favourite to make it two titles in one championships.

    After watching the elite women's time trial with the Great Britain squad, which came out in force to support its star rider in the event, Cyclingnews asked Pooley if the apparent unity of the team would serve its riders well in Saturday's race.

    "There's a really good atmosphere in the team at the moment - it's obviously not always like that because we race for different teams during the season but we've gelled as a team," said Pooley. "It's really nice to see that the girls who weren't racing came out and cheered for me. They could have just stayed inside and just waved instead!"

    Pooley explained during the post-race press conference that she had spent the past several weeks preparing specifically for the time trial and as such the Beijing Olympic silver medallist played down suggestions she might be a favourite for Saturday's event.

    She cited her focus on the race against the clock and the number of potential winners in the team as the reasons for quelling any speculation she might win two rainbow jerseys in Geelong.

    "We haven't had a team meeting about the race yet and obviously I don't call the shots because I'm not in charge; my guess would be that because we've got lots of good riders and a few who could win, we won't have one protected rider," said Pooley.

    With reigning Olympic women's road race champion Nicole Cooke, plus Sharon Laws and talented youngster Lizzie Armistead in the team there's no shortage of firepower; possessing several potential winners will be a big plus and no guaratee she'll be a protected rider, according to the 27-year-old.

    "That's a strength as a team that other squads won't have. Nicole, Lizzie, Sharon and myself......

  • Danish Cycling Union fears for future of Team Saxo Bank

    Alberto Contador mingles with his fans back in Pinto.
    Article published:
    September 30, 2010, 8:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Danish cycling scene considering implications of Contador positive

    The Danish cycling scene has responded with surprise to the news of Alberto Contador's positive doping control during the Tour de France, with speculation as to the future of Team Saxo Bank.

    Neither team owner Bjarne Riis nor team CEO Trey Greenwood could be reached for comment.

    The bank itself has responded cautiously. “It's hard for us to comment on this, because we know no more than Contador has tested positive. Therefore we have no other comment than that we are awaiting further information from Contador,” bank spokesman Kasper Elbjørn told the Danish news agency Ritzau.

    Saxo Bank had announced that it would end its sponsorship the team this year, but extended for an additional year after Contador's signing was announced last month.

    The president of the Danish Cycling Union called it “an unfortunate situation for all parties. A very sad situation for cycling in general and especially for Bjarne Riis and Saxo Bank.”

    Tom Lund of the DCU told sporten.dk, “However the case ends, I hope that Bjarne Riis' team continues. I am thinking in particular of all the Danish riders, because it is extremely important for Danish cycling that we have this amazing Danish team.”

    That is also the concern of DCU director and former rider Jesper Worre. “It's so far not an issue for Danish cycling, and the case must take its course,” he told politiken.dk.

    “But what interests us from a Danish point of view is that the team will continue and that it can provide some of the Danish riders more prominent roles," said Worre.

    And concerning Contador's fate, he said simply, “If he has taken this, then he must have his sentence - no matter who he is. And as we always say in these cases, it's good to see that the system works and that there is no difference between high and low.”

    Worre, who is known for his anti-doping...

  • Mosquera positive at the Vuelta

    Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) was impressive on the final climb.
    Article published:
    September 30, 2010, 10:24 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Spanish radio reporting positive tests for two Xacobeo riders

    The UCI has confirmed that Vuelta a España runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera and David Garcia Da Peña tested positive during the race for Hydroxyethyl starch based on reports from the WADA accredited laboratory in Köln. Both riders have requested the right to request and attend the analyses of their B samples

    Speaking on his radio show this morning, distinguished Cadena SER presenter José Ramón De la Morena revealed: “Two more cases of possible positive are going to be made public today. One of them is the cyclist Ezequiel Mosquera from the Xacobeo team and the other is from the same team.”

    Reports in Spain suggested that Mosquera has yet to be told about the news. The 34-year-old recently signed a lucrative two-year deal with Dutch squad Vacansoleil.

    Contacted by Spanish news agency EFE, Xacobeo team manager Alvaro Pino commented: “I’m dumbstruck. I’ve just been told and I’m surprised because in the team we are sure that this doping case is impossible. I’ve still not spoken with Ezequiel, but I will be trying to do so in the coming hours.”

    This report comes on the same day that fans of the Xacobeo team are planning to gather in the Galician city of Vigo to rally behind the squad, which requires significant financial investment in order to continue into next season.

    According to a press release from group behind the show of support for Xacobeo: “We are trying to gather as many cycling fans as possible in the Galician capital to show our support and pay homage to this club and to the great results it has achieved up to now, as well as to protest in front of the Xunta (Galician regional government) about the possible disappearance of this team that is emblematic of Galician sport.”

  • Contador: Food contamination or political victim?

    Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference
    Article published:
    September 30, 2010, 10:25 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Closer look at the lab behind test

    When announcing his positive test for clenbuterol Alberto Contador’s press officer stated that he’s been a victim of food contamination, but Cyclingnews understands the Spaniard might also be a victim of political issues surrounding the fight against doping. The International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed after Contador’s announcement that the traces of clenbuterol found were some 400 times less than the volume World Anti-Doping Agency labs are required to test for.

    “The concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms (or 0,000 000 000 05 grams per ml) which is 400 time less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA must be able to detect,” said the UCI release.

    The Cologne, Germany, laboratory that tested Contador’s July 21 sample is known for being one of the worlds’ most advanced for clenbuterol detection. Had Contador’s sample been tested anywhere else the traces are so minute that the substance would likely have been undetected.

    Samples from this year’s Paris-Nice and Tour de France weren’t tested at the French Châtenay-Malabry laboratory in Paris, France, making it the first time in history another lab has handled the Tour’s samples. This is the result of the constant war between the French anti-doping agency French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) and the UCI.

    The Parisian lab is operated by AFLD so therefore cannot handle samples from a WADA-governed event. That’s why the UCI has samples tested in either Lausanne or Cologne.

  • Worlds record: Cancellara the TT king

    Fabian Cancellara with another gold for his collection.
    Article published:
    September 30, 2010, 10:36 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Swiss maestro makes history with fourth world crown

    Newly-crowned four-time time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara believes his latest world title could have been his most difficult to achieve to date.

    Cancellara took another elite men's TT in Geelong, Australia, this afternoon by a convincing margin in excess of one minute, beating Britain's David Millar and German Tony Martin over a testing 45.8km parcours. While it may have been overshadowed by the news concerning Alberto Contador's positive doping test, the Swiss was still the toast of the cycling world after his historic ride.

    "This may be the hardest one of the four; I came here not 100 percent [sure] of where I'd be standing. In the end, since I did the Vuelta I started being really focused [on the Worlds] and doing everything I could to be 100 percent, to come into this day to do whatever I could, which is a 100 percent performance on this really, really hard parcours," said Cancellara.

    "From the beginning I didn't expect it would be so hard but in the end I learnt a lot [more] than in the other years when people said, 'Ah, it looks like this or that...' In the end when you see it for real you can see how it is.

    "Like Tony Martin said before, he also expected a different parcours - it was the same for everybody and I did what I had to do and that was ride 100 percent perfect. I did a good tactic to not ride too fast in the beginning because I knew in the end it was going to be really, really hard with the wind and these two climbs.

    Cancellara looked physically relieved to have secured his record-breaking fourth world title, given the drama surrounding his exit from the Vuelta and ongoing speculation about his future.

    "When I came here I didn't have the same power in my body because when you win three times and you come close to a fourth time you need to find some more motivation - this motivation was to make history and that was the big thing that was keeping me focused," he explained.

    "It's...

  • Riis believes in Contador's innocence

    Bjarne Riis waited patiently outside as his riders were presented
    Article published:
    September 30, 2010, 10:43 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dane awaits further investigation in the case

    Team Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis has spoken with Alberto Contador about the Spanish rider's positive test for Clenbuterol, and indicated that he believed in Contador's innocence.

    “Right now there is not much to comment on. It's just really unfortunate that Contador is put in this situation," Riis told Sporten.dk. “There's nothing else to do than to wait for a decision in this matter.”

    Riis, who will welcome Contador in his team as of next season, said that he had doubts about the matter and could not image that Contador would have used Clenbuterol. “It is an old preparation which has no effect at all - only side effects.”

    The amount found in the positive doping control was so small that he, along with the International Cycling Union, doubts the results, he said.

    Riis already spoke with the triple Tour de France winner. “He told me the same thing that he's probably telling the press conference today. That it must be because of something he has eaten."