Plasticisers in Contador’s urine could indicate blood transfusion

Alberto Contador returned a positive test for the so-called “plasticizers” in his urine the day before his positive control for Clenbuterol, according to the New York Times. The newspaper also says that the results could indicate that he had had a blood transfusion, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The test looks for a chemical found in plastic IV bags. “A test performed on at least one of Contador’s urine samples from the Tour revealed levels of that chemical eight times higher than the minimum amount that signifies doping, according to a person with knowledge of the test results,” the New York Times said.

The sample is said to have been taken on July 20, the day before the Tour's final rest day. The other positive sample was taken on the rest day.

Contador has denied using any doping product or method. His press spokesman, Jacinto Vidarte, said that the Spaniard “has done nothing illegal” and added that “there has been no official confirmation at all” about the plasticizers.

The test to detect the plasticizers was used at the Tour de France this summer for the first time. It has been available for more than a year, but is not yet validated for use. While an athlete could therefore not be sanctioned on the basis of this test alone, it could be used in conjunction with other evidence.

“Even without a validated test, it could be looked at in a case-by-case basis,” Francesco Botré, head of the WADA-lab in Rome, said. “If someone has a very, very high level of plasticizers in the urine, it would be hard for that athlete to explain how that happened if not from doping. If the level is lower, it obviously would make it much harder, but it would still be possible to prove."

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