After a long, controversial case, Alberto Contador, a Spanish professional cyclist has been found to be guilty of doping and has thus been given a two-year ban from the sport.
Contador was further stripped of his wins at the 2011 Giro d’Italia and the 2010 Tour de France among other races by the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).
So, what exactly happened?
What led to the events that left Alberto Contador humiliated and banned from doing what he loves most?
During one of the rest days in the 2010 Tour de France, a sample of the athlete’s urine was taken and it was found to contain traces of the drug clenbuterol; a barred substance in most sports including cycling.
In his defense, Alberto Contador claimed that the clenbuterol found in his blood was an outcome of consuming contaminates beef.
That brings us to the questions;
What is clen?
How does it function?
Would the quantities found in Contador’s blood have had any impact on his overall performance?
Clenbuterol is a beta2-agonist drug that functions as a bronchodilator.
It loosens the muscles found along the airways in order to allow air to pass through effortlessly. The drug also has other properties that make it appealing to sportsmen, some of whom decide to use it for performance enhancement.
Some of its performance-enhancing effects include the promotion of rapid weight loss, increased heart rates, and the building of lean muscle tissue.
Banned by IOC and other sports bodies
And it is precisely for these reasons that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) have banned the use of clenbuterol by athletes.
Apart from being a good bronchodilator, clenbuterol has a wide range of other effects. These include:
- Improves oxygen transportation in the body
- Improves the body’s fat-burning ability
- Improves the body’s aerobic capacity, which refers to the amounts of oxygen that the body can utilize during physical activity
It is because of the above properties that clenbuterol is at times administered to livestock to improve lean meat production.
The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and the EU (European Union) does not approve this practice in animals that are set aside as sources of food.
Nonetheless, Clenbuterol can still be given to livestock as a muscle relaxant or bronchodilator and this, alongside its illegal use, could potentially result in the contamination of food sources.
Alberto Contador Defense
For this particular reason, Alberto Contador’s statement that the traces of clenbuterol found in his blood was as an outcome of consuming contaminated beef is actually reasonable.
In fact, a 1995 study in the Public Health Reports’ journal detailed a severe outbreak of clen poisoning that happened in Catalonia, Spain back in 1992.
The drug was detected in 47 different urine samples. The poisoning was connected to the consumption of veal liver. Luckily, there were no deaths.
According to the authors of that report, the findings of the study reinforce the actual need to endorse a ban on the use of the drug in livestock in countries where it is still legal to do so.
They also suggest that stricter rules need to be placed on its therapeutic usage.
Contador’s legal defense team was, however, not able to produce any specific proof regarding the source of the contaminated beef that he ate
. This probably contributed to the final decision against him.
Clenbuterol is normally prescribed (in places where it is legal) in small doses of 20 to 60 mcg (micrograms) per day.
The 20 mcg is basically an opening dose for off-label applications (utilizing the drug for something else that isn’t its main purpose), growing to as much as an incredible 120 mcg.
Contador’s collected urine sample contained 0.00005 mcg or 50 picograms of clenbuterol. This concentration is very low and was not likely to have had any effect on his performance.
Contador’s positive drug test came out on one of the rest days during the 2010 Tour de France cycling competition- possibly suggesting the use of the drug on the previous day.
Clenbuterol, however, has a relatively long half-life; about 34 hours. That said, it is somewhat confusing that higher amounts of the drug were not found if that was something that he was using during the competition.
It is also weird that Contador did not positive on more competition days- if truly he was using clenbuterol- given how frequently drug tests were conducted all through the race.
Despite the setback in his career, Contador, during a press conference, promised to continue cycling as soon as his ban ends.
Is There Safe Alternatives?
Yes – there are very effective naturally formulated alternative to drugs you can use without fear health issues.
The #1 CLEN Alternative is known as CLENBUTROL.