A study by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) has found no evidence to support Alberto Contador's claim that contaminated meat was responsible for his positive doping test, a Spanish newspaper said Wednesday.
The Tour de France champion was provisionally suspended following a positive test for a tiny amount of clenbuterol, a banned weight loss/muscle-building drug.
The Spanish rider has claimed that the positive result, which followed a doping test during the Tour de France in July, was the result of eating contaminated meat.
But a report by WADA obtained by the newspaper El Pais said its experts visited the butcher's shop in northern Spain where the meat was purchased and the slaughterhouse that supplies it, and found no evidence of clenbuterol in any of its products.
"None of the inspections, none of the tests on samples of meat found traces of clenbuterol, a banned drug used to fatten cattle quickly," El Pais said.
The report also cited a European Union study from 2008 in which experts tested 300,000 meat samples but found evidence of the possible use of clenbuterol in only one of those.
"Obviously, farmers who cheat will never slaughter their illegally fattened cattle until about 20 days after the last dose of clenbuterol for two reasons: to avoid being caught by checks on the meat and to allow the anabolic steroid to have its full fattening-up effect," the WADA report said, according to El Pais.
The paper said the International Cycling Union (UCI) delivered the WADA report to the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC), which is to decide whether to sanction the rider.
Contador's lawyers immediately rejected the report.
"The legal team of Alberto Contador categorically denies the information published today in some media about the contents of the report sent by the UCI to the Spanish cycling federation," the cyclist's press team said in a statement.
"After careful study of the documentation sent by the UCI, which contains the report of a detective agency hired to trace the origin of the meat, it is not possible to determine that the meat was not contaminated," it said.
"In the documentation sent (to the RFEC) there is no evidence that the WADA has made any kind of analysis of the butcher in question, much less of slaughterhouses which are mentioned."
The newspaper commented that the WADA report "is the main problem that Contador must overcome to prove his innocence, as his entire defence rests on the involuntary ingestion of the meat contaminated with clenbuterol in such a tiny amount that it had no effect on his performance."
If suspended for two years, the 27-year-old has threatened to quit the sport.
Contador, who also won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, in August signed a two-year contract with the Saxo Bank team.
© AFP 2010
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