Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador on Friday went on the offensive amid fresh allegations that he received a blood transfusion during this year’s race. Reports in Belgian magazine Humo alleged that he may have used banned substance Clenbuterol during the Criterium-Dauphine race in June and withdrawn blood thereafter to use for a later transfusion. Contador had dismissed earlier claims that he took performance-enhancing products and vowed to sue anyone who made similar allegations.
“The legal team of Alberto Contador will take legal action against defamatory information published so far by various media and websites, due to their absolute lack of veracity,” Contador’s press agent, Jacinto Vidarte, warned.
Contador, 27, was provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) last week after a minuscule amount of Clenbuterol, a weight-loss and muscle-building drug, was found in one of his samples after a test on July 21; the Tour’s final rest day. 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 the positive test result likely occurred because he received a transfusion of his own blood that had already had traces of the drug in it.
Contador has strongly denied knowingly using Clenbuterol. Humo quoted an unnamed source close to the Astana team, with whom he twice won the Tour de France, as suggesting the racer used Clenbuterol along with a hormone aiding fat digestion in order to lose weight. “Contador was still a little bit overweight during the Dauphine,” Humo quoted the source as saying. “That’s what Clenbuterol is used for: to lose the last kilos and at the same time not decrease muscle mass.” The source added that after the Criterium he withdrew some of his own blood for a later transfusion. “During the period between the Dauphine and the Tour (de France), Contador withdrew blood in moderate quantities in order not to alter values for his biological passport,” the source told Humo. “The withdrawals happened while there were still some tiny traces of Clenbuterol. These remained until he proceeded with the transfusion.”
In response, Jacinte said: “Contador vigorously denies the veracity of the the information published by some media and reaffirms his innocence, as proved by all scientific reports provided to the UCI that were made available to the public, and as confirmed by his biological passport.” Jacinte reiterated that Contador was sticking by his insistence that the Clenbuterol finding “was solely caused by food contamination.”