WADA to consider changing clenbuterol rules

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) rides the Alps

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) rides the Alps (Image credit: AFP Photo)

Lab experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will meet next week in Montreal and will consider making changes to its rules regarding clenbuterol, as reported by the AP. Under current WADA rules there's no threshold level for a positive test, therefore any amount found in an athlete constitutes a violation. In next week's meeting, however, a threshold level may be created which would only trigger a positive test if exceeded.

"That could be one of their recommendations," WADA science director Olivier Rabin told AP. "You may say there is a value above which we know it's doping. There may be a value under which we would say you need further investigation, so it could be classified as an atypical finding. Or it could be classified as a typical finding which means it's a result that deserves further consideration in a certain context, including previous results from the athlete or future results from the athlete."

Spain's Alberto Contador tested positive for a small amount of the banned stimulant clenbuterol during his victory at the 2010 Tour de France, but was able to convince the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) that the drug came from contaminated food and he faced no disciplinary action. The International Cycling Union (UCI) and WADA separately appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and if they are successful in reversing the verdict of the RFEC, Contador will face a sporting ban and the loss of his 2010 Tour title. CAS is scheduled to hear Contador's case in August.

It is unclear. however, what affect new clenbuterol rules could have on Contador's case.

The AP reports that any changes made by the experts in Montreal would first have to be approved at the WADA board meeting in September and wouldn't be implemented until 2012. Furthermore, it's also possible that a change in the Clenbuterol rules wouldn't be considered until 2013 when revisions to the World Anti-Doping Code will be carried out a a global conference in South Africa.

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