Contador's hearing

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Contador's hearing

Post by LuvSports! on Tue 15 Nov 2011, 12:16 pm

Hey sports fans!
Was just wondering if anyone had heard that the verdict for this case will finally take place in january. This is taking far too long for an incident that took place almost a year and a half ago. It says it is usual for a case to take this amount of time as they begin the process this week I believe. It has gone on long enough and now I just want it over and done with. http://espn.go.com/olympics/cycling/story/_/id/7232756/court-arbitration-sport-expects-alberto-contador-appeal-ruling-january
I am a huge contador fan but when i found this out in the first place it was a bitter pill to take, there is no doubt the sport will be worse for ware without him but we can't have cheats ruining this great sport anymore. I hope he is proven innocent but if not should be punished.
What are you're thoughts on this? Do you think he is guilty? Do you think WADA and CAS have made a mockery of these proceedings by delaying so long? Finally is a 2 year ban enough?

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Tue 15 Nov 2011, 2:27 pm

LuvSports
You are right to say that this has taken far longer than it should have, although in part this is because it is not a straight-forward case. If Contador's sample had gone to (almost?) any other WADA-approved lab, it would have returned a negative result because the Clenbuterol level detected was so low, certainly well below the level that has any performance-enhancing effects.

In defence of WADA, the UCI and CAS, the reason this as taken so long is that the Spanish authorites first dragged their heels and them cleared Contador on rather shaky evidence, so allowing him to resume competition. A better outcome would have been for them to find Contador guilty and for him to then be appealing any suspension through CAS while he couldn't compete. (My opinion is that the case is complicated enough that it should ultimately be judged by CAS, so appealing the initial decision was entirely correct).

As for the story that the positive was from the consumption of contaminated meat, this is just about plausible but would be much more likely if the source of the meat was either Mexico* or China where Clenbuterol is regularly used in the treatment of livestock (it is not typically used in the EU, but there is some anecdotal evidence of animals in one part of Spain having been given Clenbuterol - an abbatoir was closed down because of this a few months after the Contador positive). However, unless it can be proven that the meat came from a probably contaminated source, I think it is much more likely that the Clenbuterol positive was really a secondary effect of blood doping with blood taken during a training phase when Contador was also taking Clenbuterol to aid muscle recovery.

Of course there is the second question as to whether eating contaminated meat should fall under the 'no fault' clause, or whether from a legal point of view the over-riding pronciple of an athlete being responsible for everything in his system should be applied.

* Apparently at a recent international U21 football tournament in Mexico, several dozen players tested positive for Clenbuterol as a result of eating contaminated meat. As such, no suspensions were given in this case.


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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by djlovesyou on Tue 15 Nov 2011, 2:34 pm

It would also be a lot more plausible had other members of his team tested positive and they didn't have to use the "I got a soigneur to bring me a special piece of meat from over the border in Spain" excuse.

It won't upset me if he gets away with it to be fair, just as long as he's riding clean now. He is clear of Bruyneel, which is a bonus, but leopards can't change their spots and some cyclists get quite dependant once they start and see results.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by LuvSports! on Tue 15 Nov 2011, 6:19 pm

wow dummy half cheers great in-depth analysis.
What i cannot fathom was the fact that he apparently had it on the rest day which makes no sense at all as it is supposed to kick in and be effective during a stage.
I heard that even a table tennis player was caught for the same case but he was let off and I think that is what his lawyers alluded to at a previous date.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by djlovesyou on Tue 15 Nov 2011, 7:20 pm

The point is that he probably didn't take it as a performance enhancer as dummy half said.

It was more likely that it was a contaminate in a blood bag that he had transfused, from a time earlier in the year when he was perhaps taking it for recovery.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 12:43 pm

LuvSports

Just to add to the current confusion over Clenbuterol positives, there is a Chinese cyclist (iirc, was a pro riding for RadioShack until his positive test) who is currently suspended for having a similar trace level of Clenbuterol in his system - the authorities judging his case did not consider the contaminated food argument as strong enough even though it is much more plausible than in the Contador case (as I mentioned earlier, Clenbuterol use in livestock is known to be widespread in both China and Mexico, but is nearly unheard of in the EU).

DJ's clarification is correct, in that the Clenbuterol found in Contador's sample has nothing to do with him doping with Clenbuterol on the Tour rest day - it is much more likely to have been picked up from another source, whether contaminated meat (improbable), contaminated supplements such as creatine (for which the precedent is that this IS the athlete's responsibility, so does not fall under the 'no fault' get-out) or as seems most likely as a result of blood doping with h blood taken while he still had some Clenbuterol in his system.

DJ
Good choice of cliche about leopards, given that Bruyneel will be one of the DSs at the merged Leopard-Shack team.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by djlovesyou on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 1:52 pm

Haha, I didn't actually mean it as I was writing it, but realised before I posted and thought I'd leave it as it was.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Azabache on Fri 25 Nov 2011, 4:50 pm

His torment continues I see! At least he'll be thin (from stress) if he is allowed to ride next season.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Guest on Sat 26 Nov 2011, 1:49 am

djlovesyou wrote:It would also be a lot more plausible had other members of his team tested positive and they didn't have to use the "I got a soigneur to bring me a special piece of meat from over the border in Spain" excuse.

It won't upset me if he gets away with it to be fair, just as long as he's riding clean now. He is clear of Bruyneel, which is a bonus, but leopards can't change their spots and some cyclists get quite dependant once they start and see results.
So to clarify none of Contadors team mates tested positive for Clenbuterol? ... and Contador was the only one to eat meat which was surreptitiously slipped over the Spanish-French border during the night?

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by djlovesyou on Sat 26 Nov 2011, 2:53 am

Yep. Exactly right.

He got a special steak from Spain apparently.

But as Azerbache says 'Poor old Alberto - it's such a witchhunt blah blah blah'.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Guest on Mon 28 Nov 2011, 11:34 am

Does anyone know why it is taking so long to get a ruling on Contador?

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by TJ1 on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 12:16 am

I believe ther ewas also plasiticers found pointng to blood doping

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Azabache on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 3:13 pm

I'm not too fussed either way as long as there's fairness.

Looking back now with hindsight the Armstrong era seems a halcyon time!

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 6:40 pm

TJ
The plasticizer thing is a non-issue: there is no reliable and verified test, but one was under development over the last couple of years. I think they found too many confounding factors to allow such a test to be reliable at the moment (the test detects DEHP, an organic molecule released from plastics - the problem is that ther are a lot of sources of DEHP such as food wrapping). So regardless of whether AC did or did not return a 'positive' result on the plasticizer test, this is not part of the WADA case (also noting that it is only a rumour that he did return a positive result for this test).

Apparently the UCI and WADA have been going over Contador's bio passport information with a fine tooth comb to see if they can demonstrate if a transfusion happened on the Tour rest day.

Also, there are a few points of law that need clarification, which always takes a long time.

It should also be noted, that as this is an arbitration, it falls under a similar requirement of proof to a civil case rather than a criminal case in the UK, i.e. that it is 'on the balance of probability' rather than 'beyond reasonable doubt'. So Contador and his legal team have to demonstrate that the contamination story is more probable than any of the other possible scenarios - could be a tough job.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Guest on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 11:13 pm

dummy_half wrote:... Apparently the UCI and WADA have been going over Contador's bio passport information with a fine tooth comb to see if they can demonstrate if a transfusion happened on the Tour rest day. ...
Well if they have haemocrit levels then that should be fairly clear whether or not Contador took a blood transfusion.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 11:35 am

Nore

Remember that the riders and their doctors are aware of how the bio passport system works, and will be doing all they can to hide any evidence of both the extraction and infusion of blood - apparently it's more difficult to conceal the effects of the extraction (a measured dose of EPO may help, but it's easy to under or over-shoot), while as long as the infusion isn't too large it is sometimes possible to stay within the bio passport limits. As such, it isn't always as straightforward as just pointing to a peak or trough in the blood parameters to demonstrate blood doping.

Another site I look at was discussing the possibility of Contador being found guilty of two doping offences (if the verdict is guilty) - one for the Clenbuterol and one for the blood doping. My suspicion is that this will be difficult from a legal perspective, because there has been no positive test for blood doping, and all that is required for the Clenbuterol positive to hold up is WADA/UXI demonstrating that the blood transfusion scenario is more likely than the contaminated meat story.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by LuvSports! on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 2:38 pm

dummy_half - by any chance you aren't part of WADA are you?!?! You are so well informed thankyou for shedding a lot of light on a rather hazy issue Very Happy

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Azabache on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 3:36 pm

Yes, I'd echo your thanks for making it all so clear-well, the murkiness of it all!

All this is reminiscent of the bad old days of the Soviet bloc. I must confess to getting quite depressed sometimes. I mean, obviously Alberto has incredible talent and durability. But what increment of durability, performance etc. can a top class rider expect...and how much is still dependent on psychological factors?

I'm using my words carefully here because I approach these cases from a legal stance and, as far as I'm aware, Contador has not ever been found guilty, yet.


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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 4:51 pm

LuvSports

I've nothing to do with WADA or drug testing, but I do have a doctorate in analytical chemistry (in an entirely unrelated field). I am a cycling fan and find the Contador case interesting both because of the analytical work involved (i.e. the measurement of such a small trace level of Clenbuterol) and because of the competing storylines of contamination or blood doping.

I have also picked up a bit of an understanding of law by acting as an Expert Witness, so am interested in seeing the judgement from that perspective also.

Azabache
It is clear that Alberto, whether riding clean or doping, is an immensely talented rider. As for whether he's been found guilty or not, from a legal perspective, I think it's even a bit more subtle that your comments - the positive test for PEDs is effectively evidence of 'guilt' in the context of the applicable regulations (noting my earlier comment that this case s judged on 'balance of probability'), but that AC was cleared under a ruling of 'no fault' i.e. that although it is accepted he committed a doping infraction, this was not owing to any intent or fault on his part (ithat he had no way of knowing or reason to believe that he was inadvertantly ingesting contaminated food) and so there is no sanction. Slightly different from being 'not guilty'.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by LuvSports! on Mon 30 Jan 2012, 9:41 pm


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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Wed 01 Feb 2012, 1:18 pm

The judgement is taking an inordinately long time - was originally scheduled for middle January. Makes me wonder whether the issues are legalistic or whether the arbitrators have needed clarification on the technical issues involved.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by LuvSports! on Wed 01 Feb 2012, 2:03 pm

It is just obscene how far they have stretched it out. He was 27 when he was accused now he is 29! I hope he is innocent but this just needs to end now.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Who_Shot_JR on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 12:00 pm

2 year sentence being reported. Loses 2010 Tour De France and all results since then including the Giro, his suspension ends August this year so he'll be able to ride the Vuelta.

Don't know what to think, I think they had to give him some sort of sentence as deliberately or not the rules were broken, however I don''t think he deserved to lose his 2011 results where he was almost certainly riding clean, or as clean as everyone else was.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 12:41 pm

Thanks JR - Thought the announcement would be later this week.

It does show what a farce all this has been, that Contador's 2 year suspension will be over in 6 months or so, and that he's been riding and influencing the outcome of races for a season and a half when he should have been sitting at home with his feet up.

While I have no strong feelings either way regarding Contador, I'm at least happy to see that the UCI and CAS have the balls to impose a sanction on such a big name - I've seen it suggested elsewhere that there would just be a big cover up.

In other cycling / doping news, the US grand jury have announced that their investigations into Lance Armstrong and US Postal have concluded and that no charges will be filed. It should be noted that this investigation was focussing on the potential crime of using Federal money (i.e. that obtained from the US Postal Service) to purchase performance-enhancing drugs, and that the absence of charges only shows that there is no or insufficient evidence of this, not that there was no doping in the US Postal team.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 4:10 pm

Should blow this year's TDF wide open with all the Time-Trials and not so many mountain top finishes. Come on Wiggo this is your year!!!
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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 4:42 pm

Olly
Sorry to say that I don't think it's a route that will really suit Wiggins - the first ITT is decidedly hilly, and there is an emphasis on (relatively) short and steep climbs in both the Vosges and Jura before the major mountains. For me, Wiggins is better on longer, steady climbs where he can just grind along at his own rhythm rather than on the puchy ones.

Looks to me like a route tailor made for Evans to hold on to his title, again with Andy Schleck (who can be a very good punchy climber, as shown by his success in the Ardennes Classics) challenging in the hills but not being quick enough in the TTs to quite hold on.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 4:47 pm

Yeah I know Wiggins probably won't win but he can certainly push for a podium place. For me Andy Schleck needs to improve dramatically on the TT's if he is ever going to win the TDF on his own merit.
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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by LuvSports! on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 5:51 pm

Does this mean that schleck will gain the 2010 title? When landis was disqualified pereiro was given the title in 2006.

Well i guess it was the right call just to make a stand but it is stupid that he is only banned until after august, surely it should of been implemented from now for 2 years to actually punish him, despite me being a big contador fan this had to be done Sad.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Guest on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 7:21 pm

The verdict was handed down by a three-man jury consisting of Israeli Efraim Barack, Quentin Byrne-Sutton of Switzerland and German Ulrich Haas.

A statement from Cas read: "The panel found that there were no established facts that would elevate the possibility of meat contamination to an event that could have occurred on a balance of probabilities.

"Unlike certain other countries, notably outside Europe, Spain is not known to have a contamination problem with clenbuterol in meat.

"Furthermore, no other cases of athletes having tested positive to clenbuterol allegedly in connection with the consumption of Spanish meat are known.

"The panel concluded that both the meat contamination scenario and the blood transfusion scenario were, in theory, possible explanations for the adverse analytical findings but were, however, equally unlikely.

"In the panel's opinion, on the basis of the evidence adduced, the presence of clenbuterol was more likely caused by the ingestion of a contaminated food supplement."


In June 2011, Contador said: "From the beginning of the season I've been the rider who's had the most doping tests, and I've been tested in all the races I've been in."

Hence overall conclusion contaminated food supplement.



Eddy Merckz thinks the ban is ridiculous / excessive - considering the amount of Clenbuterol found in his blood stream. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/16905217 (scroll down to the video recording).

Personally I am not sure what to make of the decision - at face value it seems harsh, but then again the story of the smuggled (contaminated) meat story from Contador seemed bizarre.

Whatever the reason, I would like a little more transparency from the Spanish authorities - e.g. release of the Operacion Fuentes files.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by LuvSports! on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 8:12 pm

thanks for that nore stat, fantastic research. Didnt know you delved in cycling or sports outside tennis, my bad!

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Guest on Tue 07 Feb 2012, 3:00 am

Interesting bbc report / blog of the Contador ruling: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mattslater/2012/02/matt_slater.html


I was particularly interested in the following comment:
13. At 01:20 7th Feb 2012, DW wrote:

I'm interested in more information on how the blood-doping scenario was proven invalid as I think this changes many attitudes to the case (regardless of the time taken).

I remember reading in the cycling press a year or so ago that one of his (ex) Astana team-mates had come out and said that Contador had taken Clenbuterol to lose weight a few months before the Tour when he'd also had some blood removed (before doping during the tour).

I also remember hearing that plasticiser (from blood bags) had been found in the sample but that this cannot be provided as evidence (currently) as the test has not been certified.

[Remember: when Floyd Landis was stripped of his title, he finally admitted it wasn't because he'd taken testosterone during the tour but rather it had been taken before the tour and blood-doping was the reason it was in his system.]

Can anyone therefore shed any light on this blood doping scenario being rejected as a valid cause of the Clenbuterol in his system?

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by dummy_half on Tue 07 Feb 2012, 10:35 am

Nore
Thanks for the link to the judgement - I actually suggested the possibility of a contaminated supplement early in this case, as that is something that has occurred in a number of other cases. Makes the 2 year ban slightly harsh in my opinion, although the precedent has been set that since supplements are not essential (unlike food) and this type of contamination has occurred before it does not fall under the 'no liability' clause.

The rejection of the blood doping scenario was because the bio passport data suggested it would have needed a rather complex scenario of taking white blood cells one day and red cells the next. There was also an issue that the DEHP test actually gave a positive (associated with a negative for Clenbuterol) the day before the trace Clenbuterol was found, hence the hypothesis of the multiple infusions that has been considered implausible.


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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by barrystar on Tue 07 Feb 2012, 10:52 am

This is the CAS ruling - all 90 odd pages of it. http://www.tas-cas.org/d2wfiles/document/5648/5048/0/FINAL20AWARD202012.02.06.pdf

You need to read paragraphs 344-455 which covers the transfusion case and evidence very thoroughly; it is difficult to precis the reasoning without making it a very long post. I'll try a very brief summary

Having admittedly had clenbuterol in his system it was up to Contador to prove it got there innocently. The nature of his burden of proof, a Swiss slant on the familiar English notion of the "balance of probabilities", i.e. 51%, meant that it behoved UCI/WADA to investigate and advance possible sources of contamination themselves rather than simply to sit back and leave all the work to Contador. They advanced two main theories of a blood transfusion and a contaminated food supplement. Contador advanced the contaminated meat as his only explanation.

UCI/WADA did not set out to prove, and nor did they need to prove, that there had been a transfusion, that was not their case; but merely that that it was a distinctly possible source of contamination which would mean, along with the possibility of a contaminated food supplement, that Contador could not prove to the satisfactory standard that it was the contaminated meat.

There were several main issues about the transfusion, the evidence that there was a very high level of 'plastic' in his blood did not carry the day and the panel ultimately decided that a transfusion was possible but unlikely. UCI/WADA have had a very useful run-out with transfusion type evidence. They will have a much better understanding of what they need to establish if they wish to rely upon such a case to prove blood transfusion in the future - and that is quite a lot as it happens.

The overall result was that the panel did not buy either the contaminated meat or the blood transfusion theory. Contador has been caught by the rule that he is responsible to explain what is in his body and nobody apart from him knows if he was cheating and careless or just unlucky - a fair-minded person could not say that this establishes or finds explicitly that he is a doping cheat. However, it is clear that there were aspects of his evidence that the Tribunal were content to reject, either explicitly or by inference (i.e. he said that he had always been surrounded by people who rejected doping, which the Tribunal pretty much noted was obviously untrue, and he said that he had not taken any different supplements to the rest of his team none of whom had tested for clenbutorol, but the Tribunal decided that was the most likely explanation in the teeth of his denials).
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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Guest on Tue 07 Feb 2012, 2:26 pm

As per Barrystar - from what I gather, it was up to AC's team to come up with an explanation for the appearance of Clenbuterol in AC's urine. Their explanation was contaminated meat and the tribunal didn't buy the story as plausible on the balance of probabilites.

The WADA/UCI explored the blood transfusion explanation, but again the tribunal didn't buy that explanation. Hence the tribunal rejected AC's teams explanation and since consequently AC had no acceptable explanation for the Clenbuterol in his urine he was banned for two years.

The tribunal suggest that the most likely reason for the Clenbuterol was a source that wasn't contaminated meat or a blood transfusion, the suggestion being that is was a contaminated supplement - however the contaminated supplement has not been identified.

In the meantime UCI/WADA are trying to develop an acceptable test for plasticiser from what they have learnt during this case.

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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by LuvSports! on Wed 08 Feb 2012, 1:51 am


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Re: Contador's hearing

Post by Azabache on Fri 10 Feb 2012, 5:20 pm

Redknapp innocent; Contador guilty.

Ah, Justice!

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