Contador says he may give up cycling if he can't clear his name

Tour de France winner expresses shock over allegations & admits his reputation is tainted

by Simon_MacMichael   October 4, 2010  

Alberto Contador Press Conference in Yellow © PhotoSport International.jpg

Alberto Contador fears that his positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol means that his reputation will be forever tainted, irrespective of whether he manages to escape a ban following his failed drugs test during the Tour de France. The 27-year-old also said that if he is unable to clear his name, he may give up cycling altogether.

"If this is not resolved favourably and in just fashion then I would have to consider whether I would ever get back on a bike," he, as reported by AFP, although he added “I think this will all be resolved in a favourable manner."

According to a report in the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun, published in Melbourne where yesterday’s World Championship Elite Men’s Road Race began, Contador has also said that allegations in French sports daily L’Equipe that he had also engaged in blood doping had come as “a crippling blow.”

"I didn’t read the accusations (of blood doping) but I was told about them," he revealed. “That was a crippling blow. L’Équipe carries considerable weight in the sporting world and accusations based on a hypothesis can be very harmful.

"I respect everybody’s work, it’s just that I’d like that this kind of information to be treated with extreme caution. The damage could be enormous,” he continued.

Contador continued: “"The damage is done for me and for cycling, once again. It’s damaging for me and for the credibility of the Tour de France. It’s damaging for me and for all the teams.

"Everything I have sacrificed for this sport has been unjustly swept away in two days. I don’t admit to it (doping). I will only fight so that the truth be known, but the harm that has been done to me is incalculable."

The Spaniard’s reaction came in the wake of statements by two members of the French team in Australia for last week’s racing that they hadn’t been surprised by last week’s news that Contador, who besides three Tour de France titles has also won the Vuelta and the Giro d’Italia, had tested positive.

“[Contador] is falling. The big champions are falling. It’s like that," said Sylvain Chavanel, the Quickstep rider who had two separate stints in the race leader’s maillot jaune during July’s Tour de France.

"It’s always disappointing to see things like this, but it’s good that we’ve reached a point where things are being found,” he continued.

"The levels [of clenbuterol] might be low, but there are traces there all the same. It’s up to Contador to prove his innocence."

Francaise des Jeux rider Yoann Offredo was even more forthright than Chavanel in his views on the Spanish rider’s problems.

It’s a story that we’ve been expecting," he said to, according to the Herald Sun. "We’re not unduly surprised. A little [surprised] about the clenbuterol because we’d really have expected something else. It’s like the tree that hides the forest.

"Right now, amongst the riders, I can tell you that we’re not that shocked," he added.

In a separate interview with The Associated Press, Contador invited authorities to freeze his blood and urine samples so that future, more advanced, testing systems could help determine his innocence.

“I can tell you I am not a scientist but I can also tell you that all my urine and all my blood samples are in the lab, and I call for them to be analysed as many times as necessary to clear up this case," he staed. "If it is necessary to freeze either my urine or my blood samples so that five years from now, when the system has been further perfected, it can be analysed, I authorise this."

While samples of blood and urine taken during the Olympic Games are kept for as long as eight years so that they can be re-tested as new equipment becomes available, the UCI does not do that as a matter of course, although it does have the option to do so.

The cyclist acknowledged that there would be those who would never be convinced of his innocence following his failed drugs test, saying: "There will be people who believe it more, who have more trust, and others who believe it less."

He added that he wished he still had some of the beef that he claims was contaminated so he could prove it was the source of the clenbuterol traces.

"Boy, do I wish I had a piece of that meat so it could analyzed in a laboratory with the level of precision of the one in Cologne," he explained. "That is now something that is totally impossible to prove."

Meanwhile, L’Equipe has also reported that according to the website, Contador had apologised to future manager Bjarne Riis about not having spoken to him regarding his positive test.

“I should probably have spoken to him but in the end I decided that it would be better for the two parties not to talk about it,” he said. “I’m sorry and my words can’t describe what I’ve undergone during these past six weeks. I’ve no-one to talk to about this and it’s hard to keep this all to myself,” he added.

Finally, in an interview published yesterday in L”Equipe, Contador revealed that he’d thought about telling children he saw riding around his home town in emulation of their hero to forget about dreams of becoming a cyclist.

“I wanted to tell them: ‘Drop it. Don’t try to be a champion and do it correctly. This world is unjust,” he said.



21 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

What a sob story... if you've done the crime do the time.

Not telling Bjarne Riis only puts loads of other peoples jobs at risk. Very selfish.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1348 posts]
4th October 2010 - 12:10

1 Like

I'm not a fan of Contador, but my feeling is he is innocent in this instance and has been let down by the UCI

posted by SmallerPlatypus [27 posts]
4th October 2010 - 12:35

1 Like

Does he have an explanation as to why there is also traces of plastic in the sample? Or was that in the Capri Sun he washed his tasty spanish steak down with?

No smoke without fire-this has been a long time coming. He's never going to admit it, but it's pretty obvious what's happened-I just hope it doesn't get swept aside a la Armstrong...

and quit cycling? Before or after he gets banned and his title stripped? A lifetime ban is what's needed as a deterrent anyway-I applaud his conviction.

...  Soyez Realiste-Demandez L'impossible ...

posted by Gregoire500 [138 posts]
4th October 2010 - 13:26

1 Like

Double post... ignore.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1348 posts]
4th October 2010 - 13:31

1 Like

Just a hint of blackmail then Bertie, 'dont ban me or else'.

Don't worry word is that the UCI are only looking at a ban of 3 months, see you next season!!!

demoff's picture

posted by demoff [344 posts]
4th October 2010 - 13:37

1 Like

If they did that the UCI would look ridiculous.

More so than usual.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1348 posts]
4th October 2010 - 14:00


My response is "Good"

Really, though?

posted by workhard [393 posts]
4th October 2010 - 14:04

1 Like

the thing is, Contador has be involved in these scandals before, to a lot of people he's already dodgy...

posted by pjt201 [101 posts]
4th October 2010 - 14:10

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Looking at the comments of Sylvain Chavanel and Yoann Offredo it looks like there's little sympathy for his predicament.

Is this an IRS/Al Capone moment perhaps?

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [418 posts]
4th October 2010 - 14:17

1 Like

Cycling will survive without Contador, just like it has survived without Ulrich, Landis, Rasmussen and Pantani.

The problem is cycling doesn't seem to get any cleaner, it just gets better doctors.

posted by bikewithnoname [77 posts]
4th October 2010 - 15:36

1 Like

hmmm - 3 month ban (eye roll..~sigh) + stripping of the TdF title or he gets to keep the title?

Wow, pretty benign penalty if he gets to keep the title and have a pretty relaxed sanction. How about loss of title & 1 yr minimum (ie, next season out) + sanction Astana/Saxo + 5 million Euro fine? Apparently, only guy with any b&lls in the European antidoping scene just retired.

Hey!... UCI!... police this freaking sport!... somebody kick McQuaid in the backside.


posted by bikedog [20 posts]
4th October 2010 - 18:31

1 Like

somebody kick McQuaid out of the sport. We (those of us who love cycling and arent just there for the pay packet and round the world travel perks) want the sport to be clean, we want to be able to watch it and be in awe of the guys and girls who ride through pain and with pride.

Surely thats fairly basic desire...

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
4th October 2010 - 18:40

1 Like

Has Contador actually done anything to try to prove his innocence? The story of buying in meat is really feeble and his lack of anything to back it up such as naming the supplier, getting other meat samples analysed isn't very convincing. If my career was at risk I'd be doing anything and everything I could to prove my innocence rather than just mouthing empty words at a press conference.

The whole thing reminds me of when riders were blaming contaminated water passed by supporters back in the old days when now we know they were as high as kites.

Life bans is the only way to go along with criminal and civil action if at all possible.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [811 posts]
4th October 2010 - 19:11

1 Like

re contaminated meat theory/story- has a report & quoting a Dr Ramos who's spent the last 20 years investigating clenbuterol and meat contamination.

The gist is that to get that level of clenbuterol in the meat, the animal would have died from the dose before being slaughtered. He also stated that it is 99% impossible for this contamination to occur.


posted by bikedog [20 posts]
4th October 2010 - 19:27

1 Like

Cycling as a sport has always been dirty but then people cheat in every sport in the way that's most appropriate to the sport - in cycling's case that's by taking performance enhancing drugs.

Things may be changing now but up until very recently it seems you didn't get the pay packet or the round the world travel perks if you weren't prepared to use the needle too - it was part of the job, the final sign of commitment, not a short cut. What was cheating to the outside world was simply another medically supervised part of a pro's training regime.

We may only now be entering an era when there are more clean cyclists than dirty ones - does that invalidate all the achievements of legendary riders of the past? Which guys are you in awe of Jon?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
4th October 2010 - 19:28

1 Like

The UCI needs to follow the IOC and store the samples. Then those acheivements of the past can be (in)validated and we can properly celebrate the heroes of the past/present and future wihout that itch at the back of our minds.

Cheating should not be accepted in any form. Those that cheat have to put up with knowing they cheated and look the rest of the field, their family and friends and hide it from themselves; dieing a little inside each time.

Cycling as a sport has survived the knocks so far, however these snowballs will gain more momentum and with better drug tests, and the UCI following the IOC's process then it may become an avalanche. Hopefully the drugs won't get better and halt the progress to getting clean cyclists and other atheletes.

posted by Hobett [24 posts]
4th October 2010 - 21:06

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okay Hobett, but pro cyclists have been taking drugs and doing battle with other drugged pro-cyclists since pro-cycling was invented = stuff like amphetamines were legal in cycling until the mid-60s and there's a long, long history of all sorts of other drugs being used to greater or lesser effect since the 1890s.

I doubt many of the heros of the past who doped had any trouble looking the rest of the field in the eye, because they knew full well that the rest of the field were on the gear too and if they weren't they wished they could be. It doesn't make me think any less of them because I judge them in the context of the times they raced in.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
4th October 2010 - 22:56

1 Like

Cycling is making news for all the wrong reasons again. Test implicates Alberto Contador of doping in 2010 Tour de France has been charged with doping during his 2010 Tour de France victory. He vehemently denied the charges in an emotional appearance at a press event Thurs. Contador could lose his 2010 Tour title and be suspended from competition for two years. He said tainted meat was the source of the banned substance in his urine.


VivianO.'s picture

posted by VivianO. [2 posts]
5th October 2010 - 8:26

1 Like

SmallerPlatypus wrote:
I'm not a fan of Contador, but my feeling is he is innocent in this instance and has been let down by the UCI

I reserve the right to retract this statement

posted by SmallerPlatypus [27 posts]
5th October 2010 - 22:20



I agree that the heroes of previous decades doped, as you say with amphetamines and other means. After all some were were legal and perscribed by doctors, e.g. black bombers.

However within the last 2 decades sports science has greatly improved our understanding of what the human body should be capable of without drugs and how to test for their presence. In the past I contest that it was accecpatble to dope and glossed over. In some ways their ability to cheat was admired.

Just because "eveyone" does it does not mean that it is right or that the playing field is level. Finding someone retrospectively guilty of doping is also a deterant.

It would not take someone like Contador, Lance or Petachi being found positive to truly shake my enjoyment and belief in cycling - for I believe that they have doped and have either been protected for the sake of the sport by the UCI or have been too good at it to be caught.

If Mark Cavendish was found guilty of doping it would truly demolish my enjoyment of profesional cycling.

posted by Hobett [24 posts]
5th October 2010 - 22:39

1 Like

Why doesn't he just come out and say I have never taken any performance enhancing drugs.
We all want to believe he was a natural talented elite athelete but he was obviously very very scared of Andy Schelck.


posted by stevechay [10 posts]
19th October 2010 - 23:53

1 Like