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

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.
 

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.

9 comments

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BigDummy [314 posts] 5 years ago
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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!"

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 5 years ago
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There's nothing to say it wasn't destined for racing cows?

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BigDummy [314 posts] 5 years ago
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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.

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 5 years ago
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There's a lot at steak here

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 5 years ago
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Well it's a big website, and something's got to fillet

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timbola [244 posts] 5 years ago
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Remember the Golden Rule ... Steak Lean or is that Stay Clean  19

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workhard [397 posts] 5 years ago
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Do those cows seriously think anyone will let them ride in the TdeF now?

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 5 years ago
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timbola wrote:

Remember the Golden Rule ... Steak Lean or is that Stay Clean  19

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

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The _Kaner [776 posts] 5 years ago
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Well here's my contribution to the steak-gate saga...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO3MSWRYGvg

..enjoy...medium rare..