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

Alberto Contador (Astana) celebrates his third Tour win

Alberto Contador (Astana) celebrates his third Tour win (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

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 finding has been completed."

Contador's press officer announced earlier today the Spaniard would hold a press conference in Spain later today to detail his version of events, which was when news of the adverse finding first surfaced. That release pointed the finger at food contamination as the cause behind the issue.

"You can put your hand in the fire and not get burned," Contador meanwhile told Spanish radio on Thursday morning. "If it had been a clear case of doping it would have come out that week. The food poisoning occurred due to a eating a steak that had come from Spain."

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