Monday, 10 August 2009

Alberto Contador


Doping allegations

After final rosters had been presented for the 2006 Tour de France, Contador and five other members of the Astana-Würth team were barred from competing due to alleged connections with the Operación Puerto doping case. Contador and four other members of his team at the time, Astana-Würth, were eventually cleared of all charges on 26 July 2006 by the Spanish courts and later two out of the five (including Contador) were cleared by the UCI.[13] Each received a written document signed by Manuel Sánchez Martín, secretary for the Spanish court, stating that "there are not any type of charges against them nor have there been adopted any type of legal action against them."[51]
In May 2006, a document from the summary of the investigation (Documento 31) was released. In it, Contador's initials (A.C.) were associated with a hand-written note saying, "Nada o igual a J.J." (Spanish for "Nothing or like J.J."). J.J. were the initials of Jörg Jaksche, who later admitted to being guilty of blood doping prepared by the Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in 2005.[52][53] Contador was questioned in December 2006 by the magistrate in charge of the Puerto file. The rider declared to Judge Antonio Serrano that he did not know Eufemanio Fuentes personally.[54] According to French daily Le Monde, he refused then to undergo a DNA test that would have judged whether or not he had any link to the blood bags that were found in the investigation.[55]
On 28 July 2007, Le Monde, citing what it claimed was an investigation file to which it had access, stated that Contador's name appeared in several documents found during Operación Puerto.[56] A second reference includes initials of riders’ names that appeared on another training document, although neither of those two references could be linked to doping practices.[57]
On 30 July 2007, German doping expert Werner Franke accused Contador of having taken drugs in the past and being prescribed a doping regimen by Fuentes, who was connected with Operación Puerto.[58][59] He passed his allegations on to the German authorities on 31 July 2007.[60] Contador denied the accusations, saying "I was in the wrong team at the wrong time and somehow my name got among the documents."[60] On 10 August, Contador publicly declared himself to be a clean rider in face of suspicions about his alleged links to the Operación Puerto blood doping ring.[61]

[edit] 2009 Verbier climb
During the 2009 Tour de France, former Tour champion Greg LeMond wrote a column for Le Monde in which he noted that Contador's time up Verbier was the fastest climb in the history of the Tour, which LeMond claimed would require a level of oxygen transport (VO2) "that has never been achieved by any athlete in any sport," and demanded that Contador prove that he was capable of that level of aerobic ability "without falling back to the use of performance enhancing products."[62] At a press conference later that day, Contador refused to answer questions about the article.[63] Subsequently, other experts disagreed with the calculations in LeMond's article, which were done by French physiology professor Antoine Vayer, who was a trainer for the Festina cycling team until the Festina affair in 1998.[64] Two physiologists claimed Vayer's assumptions overstate the needed level of oxygen transport, and that the level Contador needed, while "still quite high," is "not so high that you can definitively state that it can only be achieved via doping."[65][66] A third, who noted that Vayer is the leading expert in this field and "more than anyone, knows how to look at a climb in context", nevertheless also questioned Vayer's assumptions.[67]

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