Contador blood transfusion allegation 'unfounded'

Tainted beef still the culprit, according to Spaniard

Allegations that three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador may have received a blood transfusion during this year's race were "unfounded", the Spanish rider's spokesman said Wednesday.

"This is inexact, it is false, they are unfounded allegations," Contador's press agent, Jacinto Vidarte, told AFP, when asked about the report in the New York Times.

The newspaper, citing an unnamed person with knowledge of the test results, reported Tuesday that a new test used for the first time at the Tour de France this year found traces of a specific type of chemical, called a plasticizer, that is found in plastic IV bags.

The test found levels of that chemical eight times higher than the minimum amount that signifies doping, it added.

Evidence of that chemical in an athlete's urine could mean he or she has used a blood transfusion from a plastic IV bag to boost endurance.

Contador, 27, was provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) last week after a small amount of the weight-loss and muscle-building drug clenbuterol was found in another one of his samples.

The clenbuterol was detected on July 21, the Tour's final rest day, a day after the plastic residue was detected, according to the New York Times.

The Spaniard, who won the Tour de France in 2007, 2009 and 2010, argues the traces of clenbuterol that were detected came from his consumption of tainted beef from Spain.

But a report broadcast on German state-run television station ARD last week suggested that Contador's positive test result for clenbuterol probably occurred because he received a transfusion of his own blood that had already had traces of the drug in it.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said Saturday that Contador could have his fate decided by scientists from the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

"I don't know how long this process is going to take because I don't know what level the results management process is at. But I do agree that in the interests of our sport we need the Contador case to come to a conclusion as quickly as possible," he said.

© AFP 2010

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