Where's the beef? Spanish police seize clenbuterol, and not a cow in sight

At least five arrested in doping enquiry in Catalonia, EPO also found

by Simon_MacMichael   February 18, 2011  


Police in Spain have arrested at least five people as part of an anti-doping operation, reports the Catalan newspaper, Vanguardia, citing sources close to the investigation, with EPO and clenbuterol among the substances seized that are believed to have been supplied to athletes.

The arrests were made by regional police force the Mossos d’Esquadra in various parts of Catalonia at five residential addresses.

The suspects will be interviewed today by the court which opened the investigation in Olot, 50km or so northwest of Girona, home to a number of cyclists, proving particularly popular with the English-speaking brigade, and the European base of Garmin-Cervelo.

Clenbuterol, needless to say, is the substance for which Alberto Contador tested positive during last year’s Tour de France, although earlier this week he was cleared of charges by the Spanish national federation, the RFEC, which accepted his defence that the substance had entered his system as a result of his having eaten a tainted steak.

As we reported yesterday, researchers from the German Sport University in Cologne, whose laboratory was, by coincidence, the one that tested Contador's samples last year, have conducted a study that confirmed that eating contaminated meat can lead to innocent ingestion of clenbuterol.

Certainly, the contaminated meat excuse appears to have become the established defence for athletes facing doping charges as a result of clenbuterol being found in their system, with the German table tennis federation last year clearing table tennis Olympic medallist Dimitrij Ovtcharov after he had tested positive for the substance. That decision is to be challenged by the World Anti-doping Agency at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

This latest news from Spain, however, suggests that despite the protestations of dodgy food being to blame, someone, somewhere is using clenbuterol in an attempt to enhance their performance. Whether this investigation in Catalonia manages to establish who remains to be seen.

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

D'you reckon they inject the clenbuterol into steaks and then eat them?

Maybe there are 10 steaks, and they inject 5 and then just have a lucky dip, so they can all say "I didn't know whether there was any clenbuterol in my steak, ooh, lucky me, I must have got one of the good ones!"

posted by BigDummy [314 posts]
18th February 2011 - 10:47

1 Like

There's nothing to say it wasn't destined for racing cows?

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [303 posts]
18th February 2011 - 10:50


True dat. I used to get really excited about the Milk Race, but since I found out the cows were all into this stuff it's really taken the shine off it.

posted by BigDummy [314 posts]
18th February 2011 - 12:00


There's a lot at steak here

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [303 posts]
18th February 2011 - 13:01


Well it's a big website, and something's got to fillet

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7834 posts]
18th February 2011 - 13:53

1 Like

Remember the Golden Rule ... Steak Lean or is that Stay Clean Devil

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [229 posts]
18th February 2011 - 14:04


Do those cows seriously think anyone will let them ride in the TdeF now?

Really, though?

posted by workhard [393 posts]
18th February 2011 - 16:05


timbola wrote:
Remember the Golden Rule ... Steak Lean or is that Stay Clean Devil

"Steak Lean" suggests that clenbuterol has been used, so it really is a choice between the two.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1436 posts]
18th February 2011 - 17:04


Well here's my contribution to the steak-gate saga...


..enjoy...medium rare..


The _Kaner's picture

posted by The _Kaner [632 posts]
18th February 2011 - 19:53