Alberto Contador: Cycling needs a zero tolerance approach to doping

Man stripped of 2010 Tour title speaks out in wake of Armstrong scandal

by Simon_MacMichael   November 26, 2012  

Vuelta 2012 S21 Alberto Contador on his way to victory in Madrid (copyright Unipublic:Graham Watson)

Alberto Contador, stripped of victories in the 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia earlier this year, has called for a zero tolerance approach to doping within cycling.

The Saxo-Tinkoff rider was speaking in an interview with French TV channel France 2 during its Stade 2 sports magazine programme, reports the website Cyclism’Actu.

“A zero tolerance is needed for cycling,” insisted the 29-year-old, who spent six months out of competition during 2012 as a result of the two year ban, mainly backdated, imposed on him as a result of his positive test for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France.

“I don’t speak as much as some others do, but it’s clear that there is no place for cheats,” added Contador, who continues to maintain that he was innocent of the charges that led to his ban and the loss of those two Grand Tour titles.

“I worked in a way that complied with the rules and hearing people say that this victory [the 2010 Tour] doesn’t belong to you is an injustice.”

The disciplinary action taken against him as a result of that positive test for clenbuterol – Contador continues to claim the presence of the banned substance in his system was due to his having eaten a contaminated steak – wasn’t the first time he had been involved in a doping inquiry.

In 2006, he was placed under investigation as part of Operacion Puerto, in which his then team Liberty Seguros was heavily implicated, but was subsequently informed by the authorities that he was no longer under suspicion. Contador will reportedly be one of the witnesses when the case goes to trial next year.

During last year’s hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the clenbuterol case, the World Anti-Doping Agency attempted unsuccessfully to introduce a witness who would testify on condition of anonymity, believed to have been a former team mate of Contador at Liberty Seguros, with the Spanish press putting forward Michele Scarponi or Jorg Jaksche as potential names.

The latter was one of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s witnesses against Lance Armstrong, and during the France 2 interview, Contador – who rode for Discovery Channel under Johan Bruyneel and again at Astana –clarified his own views on that scandal.

Initially, he had said that the American had in effect been “humiliated and lynched,” a statement many believed to be a defence of his former Astana team mate.

But now, Contador maintains, “My words were misinterpreted. I was being a bit ironic when I said he’d be missed. If Armstrong has been judged and found guilty, he needs to be sanctioned.”

Contador’s Saxo-Tinkoff team is currently waiting to hear whether it has secured UCI WorldTour registration for the 2013 season, with rumours that it is vying for the final ProTeam slot with the Dutch outfit Argos-Shimano.

Should Saxo-Tinkoff miss out and instead settle for UCI Professional Continental status, it would have to rely on a wild card to take part in races such as the Tour de France.

Contador, who returned from his ban in August and won the Vuelta the following month, alerted organisers ASO to his willingness to take part in the race while also highlighting the uncertainty that would result from Saxo-Tinkoff not securing top-tier status.

“Obviously I’d love to ride the Tour, I already missed it this year. But if I’m made aware of it two months before, I won’t go. I need enough time to prepare myself, so if that isn’t the case, I won’t go.”


26 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

We should have zero tolerance for doping.

But people who accidentally eat steroids for dinner are innocent and we should believe in them for the sake of clean sport. This is especially true if they ride it like it's 1999.

posted by BigDummy [313 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:17


What a dick.

posted by Some Fella [900 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:23


So would that be the kind of zero tolerance that results in, say, a life ban for a rider who (unwittingly?) tests positive for clenbuterol?

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3685 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:23


You couldn't make it up!!


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1093 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:30


BigDummy: The contaminated meat story was pretty thoroughly debunked. Firstly, why would someone from Contador's team drive quite a distance to fetch a steak for Alberto? Bit odd. Further, the meat he claims to be at high risk of contamination is imported meat, but the meat he eat almost certainly, by virtue of its price, must have been spanish meat. See §XI.4 on page 57 of the CAS decision, and its finding on page 62:

Further, we're talking about an athlete who competed through some of the dirtiest years of cycling. Who's been on several teams with at least a tolerance of doping (ONCE, Astana). Who beat the king of doping in a tour. etc.

posted by Paul J [766 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:41


Fk me, did his nose grow while he made that statement, the ceating chunt.

posted by Steven_L [48 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:49


No mixed messages there then.
A zero tolerance for everyone else apart from those who allegedly eat contaminated steak.
I think it was better when he didn't say anything on doping as the more he opens mouth the more of his foot he can get in it!

posted by SevenHills [162 posts]
26th November 2012 - 12:55


Sounds a load of bullocks!

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [233 posts]
26th November 2012 - 13:21


PaulJ: sorry, my comment needed some kind of eye-rolling smiley, I'm aware that Bert tells some stupid little lies and is an obnoxious cheat-weasel who was rightly banned for doping.


posted by BigDummy [313 posts]
26th November 2012 - 13:43


"No-one here but us chickens!" said Mr Fox.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [1146 posts]
26th November 2012 - 13:48


notfastenough wrote:
So would that be the kind of zero tolerance that results in, say, a life ban for a rider who (unwittingly?) tests positive for clenbuterol?

Or urinates plasticisers. I'll struggle to believe cycling is clean and the tests are working until Contador is caught properly.

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
26th November 2012 - 14:06


Oh I wish we had zero tolerance when this cheat was caught, we would of been rid of the idiot

posted by mikeprytherch [220 posts]
26th November 2012 - 15:06


“I worked in a way that complied with the rules and hearing people say that this victory [the 2010 Tour] doesn’t belong to you is an injustice.”

Told em where he'd be, when he'd be etc and if he was able to beat the system by useing appropriate regimes (low dosing, minimal glow times bad meat etc) makes it not his problem of course.
Similar words from LA saying he didn't break the rules in 98...technically he didn't, EPO wasn't on the banned list when he started using it.
A slight case of semantics here from Contador...perhaps there is a translation error

lifes goal is not to arrive at the grave in a perfectly preserved body, but to skid in sideways yelling "yeah what a ride!"

posted by wheelsucker [55 posts]
26th November 2012 - 15:14


It's the same statement that's come from countless Spanish riders - I didn't test positive, so I didn't cheat.
Doping's not actually illegal in Spain is it? So all you've got to worry about is glow time.

posted by bashthebox [762 posts]
26th November 2012 - 15:23


So hard not to laugh aloud

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [303 posts]
26th November 2012 - 15:50


PaulJ, are you American? Not big on irony are you!

posted by headfirst [83 posts]
26th November 2012 - 19:28


bye then Bertie, been nice knowing you!

Oh, sorry is he not retiring then?

posted by gazza_d [386 posts]
26th November 2012 - 20:33


Contrary to popular belief, Americans have a highly developed sense of irony. Why else would USPS have had a "zero tolerance policy" regarding dopers?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
26th November 2012 - 20:42


Christ on a bike !

I nearly choked on my steak !

What a scummy little man.

Brummmie's picture

posted by Brummmie [56 posts]
26th November 2012 - 22:02


In my family Bert is also known as Alberto Carnavor, though this has nothing to do with my sons love of dinosaurs!

Ill uphill

posted by Uphillj [1 posts]
27th November 2012 - 0:10


BigDummy, headfirst: Doh, apologies. I'll go stand in the corner and recalibrate my irony/sarcasm sensors. Wink

posted by Paul J [766 posts]
27th November 2012 - 12:12


Alongside the comic genius that is 'the Cobra' Ricco, of whom it was only half joked that his hematocrit was higher than his IQ, the little pistol boy is cycling's comedy gift that keeps on giving. Ironic statement about Armstrong? Really, Bertie? Spanish cyclists don't do irony. They don't even know what irony is.

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
27th November 2012 - 14:35


Can't wait till he gets caught next time - he get the opportunity to practice what he preaches with a lifetime ban!!! Devil


posted by pastaman [249 posts]
27th November 2012 - 19:59


Puerto, ONCE, Astana, clenbuterol and pissing plasticisers.

And zero tolerance.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume something got lost (or completely inverted?) in translation. I can't imagine he'd lie or anything... Much.

posted by AlanD [12 posts]
28th November 2012 - 20:55


I like Bertie Cool

AJR's picture

posted by AJR [1 posts]
29th November 2012 - 11:35


I like bertie too Big Grin


posted by emily.b [15 posts]
29th November 2012 - 12:57