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Spanish beef producers call for inquiry into Alberto Contador’s claim that meat was tainted

Spain’s main association of beef cattle producers on Monday called for an investigation into claims by Alberto Contador that contaminated meat was behind his positive doping test during the Tour de France. The association said in a statement it had asked public prosecutors to open “a probe to clarify the…

Spain’s main association of beef cattle producers on Monday called for an investigation into claims by Alberto Contador that contaminated meat was behind his positive doping test during the Tour de France.

The association said in a statement it had asked public prosecutors to open “a probe to clarify the possible truthfulness of the facts told by Alberto Contador.”

It added: “Given that the cyclist has not made a formal complaint against public institutions — the only way to trigger an official investigation that would definitively clear up this affair once and for all — the association has decided to put the case in the hands of public prosecutor.”

Contador emerged from this year’s Tour de France with a third yellow jersey to add to his collection from 2007 and 2009, bolstering his image as stage racing’s man of the moment. Contador also won the Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia in 2008.

In September, however, the UCI provisionally suspended the 27-year-old after trace amounts of clenbuterol, a banned weight loss/muscle-building drug also used to fatten cattle, were found in a urine sample taken on the three-week epic.

Contador has argued he unknowingly ingested the clenbuterol from beef brought from Spain to France during the second rest day of the Tour, just four days before he won his third title on July 25.

The European Union banned clenbuterol in 1996 but it is still administered illicitly by some ranchers.

Last week Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that experts from the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) visited the butcher’s shop in northern Spain where the meat Contador ate was purchased and the slaughterhouse that supplies it, and found no evidence of clenbuterol in any of its products.

The Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) is considering whether to sanction the rider. Contador has threatened to quit the sport if he is suspended for two years.

The former Astana rider signed a two-year contract with Saxo Bank in August.