Alberto Contador won the 2010 Tour de France, his third title. One problem: On July 21, he tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance.
The 27 year old claims he ate tainted meat that caused high levels of the muscle-building drug to show up in his system.
“I’m sad, disappointed, but am keeping my head held high,” he said. “It’s a clear case of food contamination. I won’t tolerate any sanction.”
The cycling community is defending their champion, but it doesn’t look good. It’s not as though the race or the sport has a whole lotany credibility left. The racers (hey, Floyd Landis) plead their innocence in the media until people forget what happened, then are eventually found out and banned from the sport. Wash, rinse, repeat. Officials say they will try to clean up cycling, but the drug-makers are clearly ahead of the drug-testers. It’s not going to get fixed.
Will Contador retain his title?
Eh, it’s not looking good.
If Contador is stripped of his Tour title, he will become the second rider to lose the title because of doping. And it looks as if he will have an uphill battle to retain that title. The presence of the drug in an athlete’s system means that the athlete is disqualified from the day of the positive test forward, according to World Anti-Doping Agency rules. But if it is proven that the ingestion of the drug was unintentional and that the athlete was not at fault, that ban could be reduced to zero in rare cases, antidoping experts say.
So, who came in second anyway? (Luxemborg’s Andy Schleck. Well, at least until he tests positive as well.)