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Alberto Contador (Astana) resplendent in yellow on the Tour's final day.
Spaniard calls for reform of anti-doping regulations
Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador defended himself against from accusations that his positive doping test was the result of a blood transfusion, telling Reuters today that he never received transfusions during the Tour de France. A sample taken from the rider on July 21, during the Tour's second rest day in Pau, was found positive for Clenbuterol, it was announced this week.
While Contador and his scientific expert put forth the explanation that contaminated meat was behind the test result, several sources have speculated that the substance was in tainted blood which Contador re-infused on the rest day. L'Equipe reported today that his blood showed traces of a chemical that could support this theory, but Contador denied he had taken transfusions or any other drugs.
"If they want to test every sample I've given in the Tour, at as many different laboratories as they want, or if they want to freeze it for three or five years until other future tests are scientifically validated and then check it, they can do it," Contador told Reuters. "I have nothing to hide."
Contador tested positive for the banned anabolic agent but at a level 40 times less than the minimum required for authorised anti-doping laboratories to be able to detect. The 27-year-old Spaniard insists the positive test was a result of contaminated meat and that threshold levels need to be set for a positive test, not the mere presence alone of the substance.
"It just can't be that positives for contaminated food stuff like mine are placed in the same category as a standard positive for doping," Contador told Reuters. "There has to be a limit set for substances like Clenbuterol so that quantities as tiny as those found in my body due to contaminated food do not count as a positive.
"There should be [a threshold set]... the norms have to evolve, just as they have done for other substances like caffeine, where they changed the regulations because they realised they weren't right. In the case of Clenbuterol, positives should be positives because of the quantity found, with a specific limit, not because of the substance itself."
Contador admitted to feeling immense stress as a result of the allegations.
"I feel like I'm at rock bottom. I feel really let down. I'm fighting against these accusations 24 hours of each day," he said. "What I want is for all of these doubts and suspicions, even the slightest ones, to be cleared up completely and permanently."