Word out of the Netherlands is that Dutch rider Rudi van Houts, suspended last year after testing positive for a small amount of clenbuterol, has been cleared to race.
Van Houts, a teammate of world XC champ Jose Hermida on the top-ranked Multivan-Merida squad, was able to prove that the clenbuterol came from contaminated meat he ate while in Mexico last December. Clenbuterol is the same substance that multi-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador allegedly ingested after eating a tainted steak at the 2010 Tour.
Van Houts is immediately cleared to resume competition, according to reports in the Dutch sports daily, Telegraaf
What is clenbuterol? Let VeloNews editor Charles Pelkey explain in his Explainer column.
Meantime, while van Houts was not acquitted he was found guilty without punishment. Anti-doping powers-that-be said that while there was a forbidden substance in van Hout’s body, it was decided that he did not ingest the clenbuterol knowingly.
Van Houts was banned last year after triggering a clenbuterol positive of 30 picograms (even less than Contador’s 50 picograms). The rider successfully argued that the banned substance entered his body after eating contaminated meat during a racing trip to Mexico.
Dutch cycling officials said they decided not to ban van Houts despite the presence of the banned substance in his body, citing evidence provided by the rider’s legal team that the clenbuterol most likely entered his system via loaded Mexican beef.
As for Contador, he is entering a decision phase in his ongoing battle to try to avoid a racing ban after he tested positive for traces of the banned drug during last year’s Tour de France. The UCI has until March 24 to decide if it will appeal the Spanish cycling federation’s decision to clear Contador on doping charges.
VeloNews’ Andrew Hood contributed to this report.