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Contador tests positive

Three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador of Spain was suspended on Thursday after failing a dope test, in the latest drug scandal to hit cycling’s most prestigious event.

AFP reports that the 27-year-old cycling superstar, who won his third yellow jersey at the end of July’s three-week epic, announced that he had tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance, but blamed it on food contamination.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) swiftly announced he had been provisionally suspended after the news broke in Australia.

The UCI said clenbuterol was detected in a urine sample taken from the Spaniard on July 21, during the second rest day of the race in Pau at the foot of the French Pyrenees.

But world cycling’s ruling body said that only a “very small concentration” of the drug had been found and that the case warranted “further scientific investigation” because the Cologne laboratory that detected the substance is known to be able to detect the tiniest traces of drugs.

“The rider, who had already put an end to his cycling season before the result was known, was nevertheless formally and provisionally suspended as is prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code,” a UCI statement said.

“The concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms which is 400 times less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) must be able to detect,” it said, adding that testing of a second “B” sample taken at the same time confirmed the result. There are a trillion picograms in a gram.

Contador’s announcement was issued through his personal press officer as world cyclists gathered in the Australian port of Geelong this week for the Road Race World Championships.

“Alberto Contador is affected by a doping control at the last Tour de France on July 21, where the substance clenbuterol was found,” a statement from his press officer said. “From the time of the first communication from the UCI on August 24, Alberto Contador alleged food contamination as the only possible explanation of what happened.”

The message added that Contador has consulted with a number of experts, who have all agreed that the “tiny amount of clenbuterol detected” suggested that the cyclist has fallen victim to food contamination. The experts consulted so far have agreed also that this is a food contamination case, especially considering the number of (doping) tests undergone by Alberto Contador during the Tour de France.

A banned substance which can be used to help lose weight and help breathing, clenbuterol is also known to boost performance by helping to increasing strength.


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