Endless Curiosity

April 2, 2011

Contador and Clenbuterol

Filed under: Cycling — Alec @ 8:54 am

So it seems that the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-drug Agency (WADA) are appealing the Spanish Cycling Federation’s decision to clear Alberto Contador of the charge that he took drugs while winning the 2010 Tour de France.

I like to imagine the conversation when officials were deciding whether or not to clear Contador:

I think it’s important that we acquit Alberto of these ridiculous charges.

Let me give you several reasons. First, there’s far too much focus on drugs in cycling. Everyone knows that most high profile track and field stars take drugs. And there’s almost no testing in other sports such as tennis, football (soccer), boxing, basketball, baseball, or American football. People want to see winners and they don’t care whether winners take drugs.

Second, everyone knows that all the top cyclists are taking drugs. You simply can’t win a race as difficult as the Tour de France without taking drugs. If we find Alberto guilty, it simply means that another drug-taking cyclist will be declared the winner. Where’s the justice in that?

Third, Alberto was playing by the rules. Everyone accepts that if they do something stupid they deserve to be disqualified, but if they play by the rules they should be okay. The rules state that the drug testing labs must be able to detect a certain quantity of clenbuterol, but this particular lab was detecting levels 1/40th of the required amount. Alberto was playing by the publicized rules, just as all the other cyclists were.

Fourth, cycling needs its stars and its exciting competitions. The 2010 competition between Alberto and Andy was thrilling and everyone hopes that 2011 will be another battle royal. How can we deny the public the battle between a three-time winner and the Great Challenger?

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