Alberto Contador recounted key moments in the hours and days following news that he tested positive for clenbuterol during this year’s Tour de France and vigorously denied allegations that the banned substance might have entered his body via blood transfusions.
In a long-ranging interview on Spanish radio on Tuesday evening, Contador said benchmarks in his biological passport prove his arguments that he did not undergo blood transfusions as some have suggested as a likely scenario on how clenbuterol entered his system.
“No, of course I never did this (blood transfusions). I am the first, second and third most-controlled athlete on the planet. The biological passport reflects the genetic values and this is good for me,” Contador said on “La Vuelta al Mundo.” “Thanks to the controls I can demonstrate that there was not any manipulation of blood and that’s something you can see in the record.”
Contador appeared on the show just as his lawyers presented their final arguments and documentation to the Spanish cycling federation, where a four-member panel is set to officially register its recommendation on the doping case.
The panel already recommended a one-year ban, which would also include disqualification of the 2010 Tour de France, but could change its verdict by adding yet more time to the ban, maintain its previous recommendation or entirely clear Contador of doping charges.
Contador also revealed more details of what happened in the days and hours after his alleged steak dinner that his legal team argues triggered his positive for minute traces of clenbuterol. Contador recounted his reaction when the UCI called with news on August 24 that he tested positive for a control carried out on July 21.
“They called me to tell me that there had been a problem with a sample from the Tour. My first reaction was to think that it was impossible,” he said. “Two hours later I asked what was the quantity of the clenbuterol, whose name I didn’t even know or even realize was banned. He told me 50 picograms and I had to ask because I didn’t even know what a picogram was.”
“I asked him if it could be possible from eating some meat and he said that we should meet, because it’s a possibility,” he said. “Later, I called a teammate and asked him if it could have been the beef that we had dined on and that we were laughing about because it was so tender we could cut it with a spoon.”
Contador repeated that he will appeal any ban “because principles are more important than being first in the Tour de France.”
Spanish cycling officials hinted that a final verdict on the Contador case could come by February 15.