Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Alberto Contador using Gasquet defense
MADRID -- Alberto Contador's lawyers are using tennis player Richard Gasquet's successful appeal against cocaine use as part of their own defense for a failed Tour de France doping test.
Contador's lawyer, Andy Ramos, told The Associated Press on Tuesday a decision in cycling's biggest case could come "any day" as the Spanish cycling federation's disciplinary committee determines whether Contador deserves a two-year ban after testing positive for clenbuterol.
The three-time Tour champion says he ingested the muscle-building, weight-loss drug inadvertently through contaminated meat.
Contador's lawyers are using several cases relating to other athletes to highlight that Contador did not voluntarily take the drug. Contador will also lose his Tour title if he is found guilty.
Gasquet avoided a lengthy ban last year after the French player proved he inadvertently ingested cocaine after kissing a woman at a nightclub.
"Not one of the scientists we have worked with has said it couldn't have been anything but contamination," Ramos said in a telephone interview. "The levels are ridiculous -- it couldn't be anything else."
Contador's lawyers are also using the case of Dimitrij Ovtcharov, who was cleared of doping by the German table tennis federation in October. The Ukrainian-born Ovtcharov successfully argued that tainted meat consumed in China was the reason for his positive test for clenbuterol.
Ovtcharov turned up an "extremely low" concentration of 75 picograms per milliliter in his sample compared to 50 picograms for Contador. A picogram is one trillionth of a gram.
Clenbuterol is considered a zero-tolerance drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which has reserved the right to appeal Ovtcharov's case to the Court for Arbitration for Sport.
The World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Tennis Federation attempt to ban Gasquet for two years was overturned after the Court for Arbitration for Sport accepted his claim that he inadvertently consumed cocaine by kissing the woman in a Miami club hours after withdrawing injured from a tournament last year.
Gasquet did not deny cocaine was in his system but proved it was not intentionally taken while showing no negligence on his own part. He served a 2½-month suspension.
Contador is in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, training with his Saxo Bank team, which is preparing for the 2011 season. Contador also won the Tour in 2007 and 2009.
While traces of clenbuterol have shown up in meat in China, it is rare in Europe. Out of 19,431 samples tested in 2008 and 2009, not one was positive for the drug, according to the European Commission's directorate for health and consumer policy.