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Updated - Contador's management threaten to sue media after latest doping allegations

Belgian magazine publishes detailed claims by Astana "insider"...

Alberto Contador’s management team has reiterated that clenbuterol entered his body via contaminated meat and has threatened to sue any media organisation that says otherwise.

Their aggressive stance has been prompted, in part at least, by an article on the Belgian magazine Humo’s website in which a detailed description of Contador’s alleged blood doping practices is provided by an anonymous source who claims to be “close” to the Astana team. The full article is due to appear in the magazine on October 12 but the extract published on the website has already been widely disseminated.

The question-and-answer style article makes for explosive reading, providing an explanation for how and why an athlete could suddenly test positive for traces of both clenbuterol and plasticizers.

“He had a blood withdrawal after the Dauphiné Libéré, and in that blood there still remained a trace of clenbuterol,” the source - who is not a rider - unequivocally tells Humo.

 “At the Dauphiné, Contador was still a touch overweight and clenbuterol is used to remove the last kilo or two without diminishing muscle mass, or, in the best case, increasing it slightly,” said the source.

“During the period after the Dauphiné, Contador removed small quantities of blood so as not to alter the values in his biological passport. This occurred when there were still traces of clenbuterol in his blood and they remained there until transfused back into his body.”

The insider says this explains why the athlete tested negative for the drug until the rest day when the transfusion was carried out.

The article also quotes a different source,  a rider who is not part of the Astana team. The rider tells the publication that clenbuterol – which can increase the metabolic rate and therefore speed up fat-burning – is used in conjunction with the thyroid hormone Triiodothyronine, also known as T3, which accelerates the breakdown of fatty tissue. This combination means that smaller quantities of clenbuterol are required to achieve the desired results.

In the article, the Astana insider claims that blood doping still occurs in the peloton but says the advent of the biological passport has meant that instead of two or three blood transfusions of 400 – 500cc each during a race, now the amounts are more in the region of 150cc so as not to show up as sudden fluctuations in blood values.

Responding to the allegation, Contador's press agent, Jacinto Vidarte, said: "Contador vigorously denies the veracity of the information published by some media and reaffirms his innocence, as proved by all scientific reports provided to the UCI that were made available to the public, and as confirmed by his biological passport."

"The legal team of Alberto Contador will take legal action against defamatory information published so far by various media and websites, due to their absolute lack of veracity," added Vidarte.

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bikedog | 13 years ago

If that article is a joke, it makes for fairly dry reading. Who, other than cycling fans, would read thru the entire article or care if these guys were tranfusing 500 or 150 cc's? If I were the magazine, I'd invite them to sue me and take my chances that the details are true.
This is just another feces-smeared page from. the Armstrong.playbook- he used to regularly sue non-US papers/publications when he didn't like what they'd printed about him.

Decster | 13 years ago

Chaps, I was only reporting that 'apparently', as I read it on the 'cycling news' forum.

I would be very curious to hear whether they are reporting a true story.

I don't believe Contador is innocent of the charges, but to produce a story like that is not honourable journalism in my opinion.

The Belgians should be looking at Director Sportif's closer to home before publishing such an article about a Spanish rider.

Allegedly a Dutch mechanic is the source of the story, but unconfirmed of course.

Is the magazine seen as the 'private eye' of Belgium that is part of a larger publishing house or a separate entity?

Mark Appleton | 13 years ago

Decster, having spoken to the Humo journalist who, together with a colleague, broke the story, I can assure you it is NOT a spoof.

The magazine is very well known in Belgium,is part of a large international publishing concern and clearly does serious investigative journalism. They also ran an earlier story about Contador's chef allegedly lying about the provenance of the "tainted" beef.

He had apparently told a Spanish journalist - before the positive test result was known - that the meat was bought in Pau market. The story as we now hear it, is that the cuts of beef are supposed to have been purchased in Spain and transported across the border.

Simon_MacMichael | 13 years ago

Where did you hear that Decster? Have to say, if it's a spoof, it's not a very funny one...

Thing is, even as of this morning, there are still mainstream Belgian news outlets referencing that story.

That suggests that in Belgium it's viewed as we see Private Eye here, in other words not just a spoof/humorous magazine, but also one with a track record in investigative journalism.


Decster | 13 years ago

Apparently the magazine article is a spoof and they commonly produce these type of spoof articles, if true, boy it sure has done some damage to an already sad looking Contador.

Not funny. Not a fan of doping, but this type of stuff is not on!

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