Friday, October 29, 2010

Hurrah For Alberto Contador!

Hurrah for Alberto Contador! avowed victim of Spanish serendipity! Tainted beef is not, at this point, a plausible excuse; for as the Spanish agricultural trust will exclaim indignantly, in every instance of testing of beef for clenbuterol this year, there has not been one positive test!

Nevertheless, the joyful people of Pinto, Spain who offered Alberto Contador new citizenship, defend his honor most voraciously, in spite of the agriculture inspections. The Spanish culture loves champions, unlike past American Tour de France champions, who sprint to the microphone in a heated rush to judgment. But a Tour de France champion is something to be proud of in Spain; unlike America.

Saxo Bank, if it survives unsold or an investigation, assures Bjarne Riis full support after signing Alberto Contador to a two year, nine million euro contract. Saxo Bank is under the belief that Alberto is innocent and fully supports the embattled Tour de France champion. Saxo Bank was ready to terminate the team after Frank and Andy Schleck defected to a pro tour team that is being formed in Luxembourg. But, with the Alberto Contador contract, Saxo Bank decided to venture on, with or without their newly signed star.

Bikezilla, with his mouth agape in astonishment at the thought that I would support laboratory findings that indicate prohibited substance and illegal blood transfusion abuse rather than preposterous fabricated alibis, is shocked at my conclusion. Under WADA code; under strict liability; a mere presence of a prohibited substance implies culpability; no exceptions! Clenbuterol is not an endogenous substance, the mere presence of which may be disputed by simple fluctuations in carbon atoms. No, indeed, clenbuterol is an exogenous beta-2 adrenergic agonist that works on receptors of the smooth muscles of the nasal passages to dilate obstructed airways.

Clenbuterol is a substance that is abused to increase performance in athletes and has been banned by WADA. Cyclists who suffer from asthma or other health related problems have an opportunity to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption; if approved by a creditable physician. International standards pertaining to Therapeutic Use Exemptions should be harmonized; therefore, they should apply to all cycling entities affliated with WADA or the UCI. The understanding of the rules and the punishment for violations are clearly delineated. People who work with athletes should review new updates of rules if they are confused...poorly contrived de facto excuses of ignorance are unacceptable!

But, to be fair to Alberto Contador and his inventiveness, ingestion of clenbuterol tainted meat has had "outbreaks of acute illness in Spain, France, Italy, China, and Portugal 0.5-3 hours after individuals ingested liver and meat containing clenbuterol residues." The symptoms of acute clenbuterol poisoning from eating tainted meat was usually "resolved in two to six days." As a defense lawyer it would be advisable to gather testimony from the Astana teammates of Alberto Contador: dispositions stating that team Astana was suffering from symptoms of acute clenbuterol poisoning; but deus ex machina recovery was instantaneous enough for the Astana team to pilot Alberto Contador to a virtual tie in time with Andy Schleck on a tough mountain climb the very next day!

Very unlikely that the entire Astana team made such a remarkable, immediate improvement in health. "Pish-posh," indeed.

That excuse should provide some very entertaining, though unconvincing testimony!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The UCI Ensures Fair Play

It is good to know that UCI president Pat McQuaid is assuring the skeptical cycling public that the wheels of justice are in progress; without any favoritism to three time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

Why would anyone doubt otherwise? The UCI has always been very forceful when dealing with suspected doping violations: especially when dealing with Spanish riders. You laugh? You question this assertion? What about Alberto Contador and Operation Puerto? Operation Puerto was a raid on the offices of Dr. Eufamiano Fuentes conducted by the Spanish Civil Guard. Fuentes was suspected of doping blood to increase athletic performance among several sports; including cycling. During the raid, several bags of doctored blood were seized along with medical records of athletes written in code. One code name was "son of Rudy," a reference to long time coach of Jan Ullrich; Rudy Pevenage. The Civil Guard investigated the records and compiled a very large list of suspected cyclists, including Liberty Seguros rider Alberto Contador.

Although Eufamiano Fuentes was charged with illegal blood tampering, Spanish judge Antionio Serrano dismissed the case arguing that the prosecution argument did not prove any violations of Spanish law. At the same time Alberto Contador was cleared by the Spanish judiciary of any link to Operation Puerto. Of course, the Spanish cycling federation felt no compulsion to investigate or suspend Alberto Contador for a possible involvement in Operation Puerto after the Serrano decision. The UCI did not interfere with this affair even though action seemed warranted.

The Strange Case of Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde was another name found in the medical records of Eufemiano Fuentes. The case would have probably gone the route of Alberto Contador: swept under the rug, if not for the Italian Olympic Association (CONI). During a Italian race Alejandro Valverde was requested to provide a routine in-competition urine sample. There was a suspicion that a code name found in Eufemiano Fuentes office referenced the name of a dog owned by Valverde. CONI did a DNA sequence of the sample provided by Valverde during the race and compared the results with DNA profiles of blood bags found during the Spanish Civil Guard Operation Puerto raid. The DNA results were an identical match: proof that the tainted blood belonged to Alejandro Valverde.

This is simply remarkable. The Operation Puerto raid was conducted in 2006 but nothing was done to restrict Alejandro Valverde from racing for four years. The UCI did nothing to prevent Valverde from racing even though the Italian government banished Valverde from racing in Italy. Italy was so upset from the lack of action from the Spanish and the UCI that they insisted that if Amaury Sport Organisation did not prevent Valverde from racing the Tour de France which crossed into the Italian territory: that the Italian government would erect barriers at the frontier. Not until 2010 was Alexander Valverde banned from cycling, the Spanish complicated matters by allowing Valverde to compete in and win the 2009 Vuelta d' Espana.

The UCI: bastion of fair play.

Paper tiger Pat McQuaid inspires fear and loathing in dopers. This is evident by his prompt plan of action; his acumen of the science; his insistence that riders play fair; his insistence on transparency. Pat McQuaid insists on lecturing his inferiors by claiming that any conclusion reached in the Alberto Contador case is inaccurate: the plastic residue finding that indicates tainted blood rather than a tainted steak is incorrect. Nevertheless, with the history of the UCI in dealing with Spain there is no doubt what-so-ever that the UCI will insist on fair play by appealing to the Court of Arbitration of Sport any outrageous suspension of Alberto Contador that the Spanish cycling federation might award due to the clenbuterol positive.

Alberto Contador if you are so innocent provide us with a copy of your Lab Document Package: post the information on the Internet, I guarantee you that this information will generate a very lively discussion on the cycling forums. You will have as many supporters as detractors. But if you are counting on a Chatenay-Malabry style of incompetent slop to support your position: be advised; the Germans are a very precise people!

Alberto Contador: A Serial Doper?

Alberto Contador was given a free pass during Operation Puerto, because, as some claim, he has a link to royal blood. Perhaps, he thinks, like other convicted dopers, that he has a right to use performance enhancing substances. He was excused by a Spanish judge of involvement in Operation Puerto without a slap on the hand, like royalty. Perhaps, he thinks that he will always be excused from undesirable consequences of his behavior by a sympathetic government. Perhaps, he thinks that Pat McQuaid and the UCI are too weak to interfere.

Pat McQuaid: do you have a set of cajones?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alberto Contador: The Noose Tightens

The Associated Press has reported that the WADA accredited laboratory at Cologne, Germany has found metabolites of a common plasticizer found in bags used in intravenous transfusions in the Tour de France urine samples provided by Alberto Contador. If true, the claim by Alberto Contador that he ate a clenbuterol tainted stake provided by a friend to the Astana cycling team seems nothing more than a preposterous fable.

Metabolites of plasticizer di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) were found in samples provided by Alberto Contador on July 20, 2010 at eight times the normal limit. On July 21, 2010 during the second rest day of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador tested positive for minute amounts of clenbuterol; a finding that anti-doping expert Rasmus Damsgaard claims could possibly have been a result of a transfusion of tainted blood stored during a out-of-competition period between races. A blood transfusion used during the race would boost oxygen supply (red blood cells transport oxygen) a common tactic employed by cyclists to gain a competitive advantage. Autologous transfusions of stored blood of one cyclist transfused into the same cyclist has no known laboratory test.

The perfect crime: or one would surmise, unless the criminal was a very careless person? Apparently, Alberto Contador was a very careless person. The WADA accredited laboratories are perfecting the detection of deception by searching for analogues of storage vessels like plastic bags; metabolites of plasticizers; illegal substances! One would surmise that Alberto Contador and those who possibly assisted him would have examined the purity of the blood prior to transfusion!

Indeed, the tainted meat fabrication, as such, seems more incredible by the second. Experts in meat contamination claim that if clenbuterol was introduced into an animal that most of the drug would be stored in the liver, that the amount of clenbuterol used in the animal to produce the positive test found in Mr. Contador would have killed the animal outright, and that it would be impossible to test positive for clenbuterol by eating a contaminated stake!

Not knowing all the circumstances of this case and not wanting to sound like Dick Pound; I will not expostulate guilt and guillotine. But the facts do tend in a direction probably not to the liking of Mr. Contador and his legal team. The results of the plasticizer test results could be challenged as unreliable or as invalid; and some people have suggested that that the urine could be stored for the next seven years as insurance in case some new test is developed; what rubbish!

Sounds to me like another case of denial, denial, denial! Alberto Contador should come to his senses and think! millions of dollars in legal fees! two years fighting the anti-doping agencies! Bad Karma! If you are guilty, confess! The Ivan Basso road is much easier than the Floyd Landis trail. Do you wish to be regarded as persona non grata for the rest of your life?

Confess and most of us will forgive you; lie and we will never forgive. Ask Floyd Landis.