Home
Cyclist hopes highlighting lack of negligence in his part can help him avoid ban

Alberto Contador, who should learn within the coming week what punishment if any is to be imposed on him by the Spanish national cycling federation following his failed test for clenbuterol in last year’s Tour de France, which the cyclist insists is due to his having eaten a contaminated steak, has presented further evidence including “new information” in a last effort to escape a ban.

The RFEC said last month that it intends to ban the former Astana rider, now with Saxo Bank-SunGard, for a year, and Contador has said that he intends to fight any ban. Talking to Spain’s Radio Nacional, as reported on the website of the Spanish sports daily Marca, the 28-year-old continued to reinforce his insistence that tainted meat lay behind the presence of clenbuterol in his urine.

Although it’s not clear exactly what new evidence has been given to RFEC ahead of its decision, Contador says that "With the documentation submitted and the two new items we've introduced there is hope that this changes matters. The rule says there must be responsibility and negligence on the part of the athlete to apply for a sanction to be applied.

“One athlete tested positive for Mexico, where they use clenbuterol on cattle, but in the European Union meat passes through controls and it is forbidden to raise livestock with this substance. I could not have believed that this meat was contaminated.”

That, Contador believes, gives him a strong enough case to demonstrate that he is free from blame, enabling him to benefit from UCI rules that can absolve a cyclist or provide for a shorter ban in certain circumstances, with the three time Tour de France winner saying, "It's the perfect case to demonstrate the absence of negligence, and if this principle is not used, none of this makes sense.”

Anti-doping rules do not set a minimum threshold when it comes to clenbuterol, meaning that even the tiniest amount of the substance is enough to return a positive test, as happened in Contador’s case, but the cyclist says he is relying on Articles 296 and 297 of the UCI’s anti-doping rules.

Article 296 provides that a ban can be eliminated “if the rider establishes… that he bears No Fault or Negligence,” although the onus is on the cyclist to “establish how the Prohibited Substance entered his system in order to have the period of Ineligibility eliminated.”

The wording of Article 297 differs and applies to cases where the rider establishes he has “No Significant Fault or Negligence,” presumably less onerous to prove than under Article 296, but which at most sees any ban only reduced by half, and again the cyclist must demonstrate how the substance came to be in his system.

Referring to how his case has progressed, Contador said, “At first it was a nightmare, and now is a feeling of disappointment. When they say a year’s ban and you see that the work you’ve done has been for nothing, you sink. But now I have hope,” he insisted, adding, “I will fight to the end.

Contador, who comes from just outside Madrid, also revealed that he had received support from Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who spent several years in an ultimately successful attempt to clear his name after testing positive for nandrolene while playing in Italy.

"Guardiola did not stop until he was acquitted,” said Contador. “It is a similar case to mine. It is sad that so much time went by until he proved his innocence. Now the experts know that a threshold has to be set for clenbuterol. Until we change the rules, no barriers will be established and unfair cases will be punished,” he maintained, adding that he and Guardiola had “exchanged some messages” when news of his failed test became public.

In the interview, Contador also reiterated comments made in recent days that he had changed his mind about retiring from cycling if he were banned due in part to the public support he had received, and also stated that he did not believe that he had been persecuted by the authorities.

He added he won’t touch steak again during big races for as long as he continues to be a professional cyclist.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

44 comments

Avatar
adscrim [139 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Will he be eating any plasticizers in the future?

Avatar
Barry Fry-up [187 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
adscrim wrote:

Will he be eating any plasticizers in the future?

He'll be eating his words soon enough, with any luck

ELFSTONE COMMENT SWEEPSTAKE: I'm going for 14:54

Avatar
dave atkinson [6223 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Barry Fry-up wrote:

ELFSTONE COMMENT SWEEPSTAKE: I'm going for 14:54

hahaha! I'm going for 15:12. Office schwag for the winner. who else is in?

Avatar
gbzpto [94 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

15:08

Avatar
simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Elfstone: I say he's not gonna do it this time. A non-runner.

Avatar
abudhabiChris [692 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
simonmb wrote:

Elfstone: I say he's not gonna do it this time. A non-runner.

I haven't even read the story, I came straight down to the comments to see if Alberto's friend had made an appearance.

Perhaps HE WILL NOT RETURN.

Avatar
abudhabiChris [692 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Hang-on, how does the timing work ?

On my page it says Barry posted his comment at 15:09 predicting a 14:54 Elfstoning.

And my comment above was 16:11. Anyway assuming a couple of hours to build up sufficient outrage I reckon about 1hr 45mingfrom now, whatever time my post comes up as.

Avatar
BigDummy [314 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

"I could not have believed that this meat was contaminated.”

Sorry. I don't understand. He has a banned performance enhancing drug in him. He claims it got in via a steak he ate. But now he claims that he couldn't have believed that the steak had the substance in it, because steak doesn't have this stuff in, apart from in Mexico.

As the steak didn't come from Mexico, this makes it LESS likely that his explanation for the presence of the drug in his body is in any way true or even plausible.

It elevates his "steak defence" to the status of Landis' claim that a massive amount of synthetic testosterone can be produced by drinking 2 beers and a whiskey or Tyler Hamilton's that the vast amount of foreign blood in him belonged to a phantom twin whose life essence entered Tyler while they shared the same womb. Or am I missing something?  39

Avatar
jova54 [654 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I reckon he'll be in before that.

I'm saying 14:02 (that's GMT for Chris's benefit  3 )

Avatar
eddie11 [112 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

so have i got this right? his new defence is

It was definately in the meat, but because it couldn't possibly have been in the meat because of the rules in europe then he couldn't have known it would be there which is why he ate it, even though it was definately in the meat, although he knew it wouldn't be which is why he ate it....

eh? baldrick could have had a better plan

edit: too slow, think ive picked up the same point as big dummy but he said it better

Avatar
simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
abudhabiChris wrote:

I haven't even read the story, I came straight down to the comments to see if Alberto's friend had made an appearance

The thing is, he's not a friend of Alberto is he? Elfstone always starts off 'If Alberto were a close personal friend...'. So, the world awaits the twelfth coming of the Elfstone. In the meantime, I'm going to find out who Alberto is and what he's supposed to have done...

Avatar
dave atkinson [6223 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

Hang-on, how does the timing work ?

it works like this:

1) the times on my computer are the ones i'll go by
2) erm, that's it  1

Chris, you need to take 4hrs off any guess you make by the looks of things

Avatar
eddie11 [112 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

but to me this new arguement undermines the meat being contaminated in the first place.

The stronger his case that he couldn't have forseen the meat would be contaminated. The weaker his case is that the meat actually was contaminated given thats a mater of debate and his team seem to have present little proof.

Is he not essentially saying - look i know its hard to believe but i ate the only contaminated steak in europe! I know i couldnt believe it myself!

Avatar
BigDummy [314 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Thanks Chris, that's very lucid. It makes a lot more sense if you read "believe" as "forsee".

I haven't been following this as closely as I should, but has he produced any evidence that the drugs actually came out of a steak at all? Or is it just the theory his defence is running with?

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

It's all just theory Big Dummy no contaminated steak has been produced - unless you count the contamination in Contador's blood stream.

After a close study of the form I'm going long on this one I reckon it'll be 17:30 - knocking on time in Marin County… unless he comes in over breakfast, which might well see Chris in the frame.

Avatar
Mat Brett [625 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

If Elfstone were a close personal friend, my friendly advice to him would be to retire from the road.cc forum, permanently. The website has let him down; and the forumites in judgment have shown themselves to be immature lug-heads. This is not a group I'd encourage "my friend Elfstone" to continue in relationship with.
That said; It occurs to me that the last many months have probably been for Elfstone severely emotionally draining - they certainly would have been for myself - and brimful of uncertainties; that I don't know that Elfstone would be able to be in top-form.
Were I Elfstone, I'd welcome the respite: AND I WOULD NOT RETURN.

With all that in mind: 18:19.

Avatar
giff77 [1251 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I say 1845gmt, by the time he has worked through the thread and gathered himself!!! BTW I reckon it was the seasoning on the steak  4

Avatar
mr-andrew [300 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Not worth commenting on Contador, but 19:45 on Elfstone.

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Come on Elfstone there's only 15 minutes 'til I'm out of the game… I'm counting on you here

Avatar
abudhabiChris [692 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

@BigDummy I think to be fair that claiming he 'could not have believed' is probably best translated into UK legalese as saying he had a reasonable belief that the steak would not be contaminated.

Therefore under the rules they are citing he cannot be held to have been responsible or negligent.

In common law we are held responsible for something we can reasonably foresee. If you put a gorilla in a cage and tie it shut with a bit of string, then the gorilla escapes and attacks someone you cannot claim that it was not your fault, because it was reasonably foreseeable.

On the other hand if you take all due precautions and some unpredictable event happens, such as the gorilla has mastered the art of picking locks, then you might not be liable.

Sadly the perfectly foreseeable possibility that you might kill or injure someone if you are not paying attention while driving a tonne or more of metal at high speed has been replaced by the ridiculous rules of careless driving which allow people to get away with what should be manslaughter.

Avatar
bikeandy61 [533 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Saying that you find it hard to believe that a food stuff could contain a contaminant that makes you give a positive doping test SURELY is not proving that you were negligent? The only way to even raise the possibility of his story being true would be to do a statistical study of beef available for human consumption in the region that is contaminated with Clenbuterol. Even then this could only be put forward as circumstantial evidence that his story may have an element of truth. Seems to me his lawyers are not doing a very good job. Produce some sort of evidence, statements are never going to hold any water (are they?).

Avatar
BUD [33 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

 21 21 Be serious guys there is more at STEAK here tha Elfstones timing.....!

Avatar
hairyairey [298 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

abudhabiChris - spot on. If I may continue in stating what should be obvious.

Contador has (AFAIK) always maintained that clenbuterol came from contaminated meat, and the amount found would probably bear this out as a possibly. His point seems to be that since in Europe clenbuterol isn't allowed then he could not have reasonably been expected to know the meat would be contaminated. If what he is saying is true (and there may be more going on behind the scenes than we know) then someone has been illegally importing Mexican (or another country's) meat and selling it as home grown.

It's a truly scary thought that as cyclists that we don't just have to check all our drugs through an online database we can actually still fall foul of the doping regulations.

I think it's a case of wait and see.

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
hairyairey wrote:

If what he is saying is true (and there may be more going on behind the scenes than we know) then someone has been illegally importing Mexican (or another country's) meat and selling it as home grown.

Spanish police broke up a clenbuterol distribution ring last year (okay, not mainland, but if it's going on in Canaries/Tenerife, it's probably getting there too):

http://road.cc/26069

As for more behind the scenes - yes, I think so, Contador said he was presenting new evidence but as far as I can tell has not actually said what that is.

Very 11th Hour, mind...

Avatar
Badshoes [2 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Good luck with the appeal,Alberto.

Avatar
simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
dave_atkinson wrote:

ELFSTONE COMMENT SWEEPSTAKE Office schwag for the winner. who else is in?

And the winner is?  39

Avatar
dave atkinson [6223 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
simonmb wrote:

And the winner is?

Well, you're the first person to correctly guess that he'd think better of the cut-and-paste game this time round, so I guess it's you  1

Avatar
simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

 36

Avatar
whizzkid [73 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

No wonder despite his best efforts Schleck was unable to shake off Contador on the Tourmalet. Steak is a great muscle building food and when laced with a banned substance must fall into the ranks along with broccoli as a "super" food. I'm off to Mexico now to eat Chilli con carne daily till the British racing season begins.

Avatar
simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Are there any vegetarians in the pro-ranks these days? Have there been first-class riders who were vegetarians? I know AC isn't giving up meat altogether, but I wonder if it is actually possible to be a vegetarian and win races?

Pages