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French anti-doping expert suggests new analysis for Contador’s samples

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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard).

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard).
(Image credit: João Dias)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard)

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard)
(Image credit: João Dias)
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Alberto Contador in the peloton well protected by his teammates.

Alberto Contador in the peloton well protected by his teammates.
(Image credit: João Dias)

He may have been cleared by the Spanish federation (RFEC) for his positive test for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France, but Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) is not out of the woods just yet. He’s still waiting for the UCI and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) to decide whether they will appeal the decision before the end of March, but he also could face new and more serious doping accusations.

Professor Gerard Dine, one of the founders of the biological profile which became the French “longitudinal profile” and the international “biological passport” used by the UCI, thinks Contador’s samples should be re-analyzed in order to detect plasticizer traces. The presence of plasticizers in a sample would strongly suggest blood bag use.

According to The New York Times and L’Equipe newspapers last October, a blood sample from Contador taken on July 20 contained plasticizer, a type of chemical that is found in plastic IV bags such as the bags used to carry human blood. That finding, made by a German laboratory in Cologne, is unofficial as long as the plasticizer test isn’t recognized by the World Antidoping Agency, and that is why the Spanish federation was only investigating the Clenbuterol positive test.

Rather than blaming the science behind anti-doping, Dine highlights the maladjusted rules. “If there’s a problem in terms of the anti-doping fight, it’s because of current rules which don’t follow the reality of scientific doping enough,” he said.

Dine, a haematologist who is also Managing Director of the Institut Biotechnologique de Troyes, says that Contador could have used “Clenbuterol in a period when he was not tested, in order to do power training” and then that people “extracted his blood in order to transfuse him later.”

Commening on the doping charges that were dropped by the RFEC, Dine criticized Contador’s defence. “The substance is strictly prohibited”, Dine said, adding: “That’s confusing and it’s a serious problem of credibility in the anti-doping fight, it’s very clear.”