Three-time Tour de France winner and strong anti-doping advocate Greg LeMond has reacted with surprise to the news that Alberto Contador (Astana) has tested positive for clenbuterol.
“I find it hard to believe that a professional like Alberto Contador would risk a detectable drug and I can’t believe how many people have left a certain team and then gone positive,” LeMond told Cyclingnews after hearing the news.
Contador was tested several times during this year’s Tour de France but traces of clenbuterol were found in a sample from July 21, the second rest day of the race. The UCI stated that the amount of was 400 times less than the minimum amount World Anti-Doping Agency accredited labs must be able to detect. Contador went on to win the Tour de France by 39 seconds, ahead of arch-rival Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank).
LeMond has been critical of drug testing measures within the sport before, lambasting both the procedures the transparency of several cases including the fallout between the UCI and AFLD. However the legitimacy of the latest storm to engulf cycling has raised eyebrows.
“I’m all for eliminating drugs but the powerful ones aren’t detectable but I don’t think that this is a black and white drug test. Look at the quantities that he was detected with,” he said.
“There’s some crazy stuff in cycling with people going positive for things that have little to no benefit to performance. To risk a Tour de France victory for this….”
Despite Contador claiming that the positive test was down to a cut of meat he faces a fight to clear both his name and a possible suspension. However, LeMond believes that his image as well as the sport’s has been permanently tarnished no matter the outcome.
“Anything like this is devastating but this is like someone going positive for marijuana, I don’t think there’s a benefit to it but if it’s on the list, it’s on the list. I’m trying to walk a fine line but I don’t believe in the transparency of the sport or that there’s equal treatment for everyone out there. It just blows me away.”