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September 30th, 2010
08:49 AM ET

Cyclist Alberto Contador blames food contamination for failed steroid test

Alberto Contador tested positive for a banned substance in July. He has been suspended by the governing body pending an investigation. Contador's spokesman blames the failed test on food contamination. Contador is expected to speak later today. Peter Flax, editor-in-chief of "Bicycling" magazine spoke to John Roberts on American Morning:

Peter Flax: Yes, it was 1/400th of the normal limit they test for. They're talking about a trace amount of a 20-year-old asthma drug. It's a really shocking piece of news.

John Roberts: So Alberto Contador claims that it was food contamination that led to this. Are they offering any further explanation of how this food might have gotten contaminated?

Flax: No, my desk will be buzzing with all sorts of statements and press releases. I think they're holding off on that piece until the press conference in a little while. In the present anti-doping system the way its written, athletes have to take responsibility for what goes into their body. He's on the hook in that way. I have to admit like a lot of observers seeing a trace amount of such an easily detectable drug that stays so long in your system that's so old, it does make you think there's a high likelihood that there's some explanation other than a deliberate amendment for performance enhancing.

Roberts: Now, because he was in the yellow jersey for so long during this year's tour he was heavily tested. All of the other tests have come back, as far as we know, negative. Isn't unusual that there would be, among all of these negative tests, one test that's positive with this tiny trace amount?

Flax: Yeah, it's definitely suspect from everyone I've talked to that clenbuterol stays in your system for such a long time. So to be such a trace amount that only showed up on one day, it's consistent with that kind of explanation. I certainly will be waiting like a lot of other observers to see what Alberto has to say and see how this all plays out. But it's really shocking to see a grand champion at the top of his game like Alberto Contador facing this kind of charge right now.

Roberts: In the meantime, until all of this is either cleared up or confirmed, his tour title certainly at risk. Peter Flax, we like you will be eagerly anticipating the press conference.

Filed under: Sports
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Frank Becker

    As an avid watcher of CNN's AMFIX, I was very disappointed this morning with your brief, sensational announcement of Contador's suspension. Had I only gone by what was announced, it would have left me with the notion that yet another cyclist and Tour de France winner had been convicted of substance abuse without doubt.
    My British BBC and Swiss NZZ newsfeeds, however, made sure to mention that what was found in Contador's blood was merely a 400th of what labs are required to detect. I understand that you bring it up here in this blog, but I expect more from CNN and simply don't understand the need for a sensational headline that leaves the viewers with a half-truth.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:31 am |