No, this isn’t an April Fool’s story: Alberto Contador has stopped eating beef since he tested positive for traces of clenbuterol in July’s Tour de France.
Contador is in the midst of a legal battle to try to clear his name of doping allegations , saying his positive test stems from having eaten contaminated steaks brought to France from Spain. Rather than risk another possible clenbuterol positive, the beleaguered Spanish star has sworn off beef.
“It’s true. Alberto has not had any kind of beef since he tested positive,” Contador spokesman Jacinto Vidarte told VeloNews. “He says he won’t eat beef again in his sporting career, because he doesn’t want to risk another positive. He does eat pork and chicken, but he hasn’t eaten beef since August.”
That’s when Contador learned that traces of clenbuterol were discovered in his system in a rest-day control taken on July 21 in the final week of the 2010 Tour.
Contador’s legal team is sticking to its arguments that contaminated beef is the only possible explanation for how clenbuterol entered his system.
Contador joined his lawyers on Monday as they presented their final round of documents they say defends their arguments. Lawyers also provided evidence they claim discounts reports that the banned substance entered Contador’s body either through blood transfusions or micro-doses of clenbuterol.
“We believe that we’ve demonstrated that the only plausible cause of the clenbuterol is via eating the tainted meat,” Vidarte said. “Now all we can do is wait and see what the Spanish (competition committee) decides. We still hope that they will not recommend any ban at all.”
Spanish authorities have hinted that a final verdict on the ongoing “caso Contador” should come no later than February 15.
Vidarte also repeated that Contador is committed to appealing any ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
Key to Contador’s case is trying to prove that the clenbuterol entered his system accidentally, something Contador’s legal team said would give their case some legs in their request for not giving Contador any ban at all.
“Contador was not negligent in eating beef. The meat came from Europe, it should have been clean,” Vidarte said. “It’s not as if he were eating beef in Mexico or China, where other athletes have tested positive in what’s also clear case of contamination.”
Contador isn’t the only rider dropping beef from his diet. At last week’s presentation of Movistar Team, Spanish rider Xavier Tondo said he was worried about eating meat during his recent trip to Argentina for the Tour de San Luís.
Team officials at Saxo Bank-Sungard also expressed their worry that the Haedo brothers, who hail from Argentina, could be at risk for eating contaminated beef.
Contador, meanwhile, is staying at home in El Pinto and continues to train with the hope that he’s cleared to race this season, Vidarte said.