That nagging “trace amount” argument

From the ESPN webpage.

“This is serious and this case needs to be clarified,” Pierre Bordry, the outgoing head of France’s anti-doping agency, told RTL radio. “Clenbuterol is a forbidden substance, whatever the amount which is detected. If they really found it, it’s forbidden.”

WADA director general David Howman told The Associated Press that testing positive for even the most minute amounts of clenbuterol could be enough to sanction an athlete, although he declined to discuss the specifics of Contador’s case.

“The issue is the lab has detected this. They have the responsibility for pursuing. There is no such thing as a limit where you don’t have to prosecute cases. This is not a substance that has a threshold,” said Howman, reached by telephone as he was changing planes in Dubai on his way to the Commonwealth Games in India.

“Once the lab records an adverse finding, it’s an adverse finding and it has to be followed up.”

“Clenbuterol is a substance that has been used for over 20 to 30 years,” he added. “It is not anything new. Nobody has ever suggested it is something you can take inadvertently.”

Key phrase is “even the most minute amounts of clenbuterol could be enough to sanction an athlete.” This, I think, it the crux of the matter. He has already been “formally and provisionally suspended” while this matter is sorted out. The “tainted meat” line is for public relations concerns. All that matters is 1) that the substance was in his body, and 2) what implications will that have regarding Alberto Contador’s retention of his first place finish in the 2010 Tour de France.

I see this going one of two ways; if the UCI determines that any amount is actionable, he will be stripped of his Tour title. Inversely, if the UCI determines that a minimum threshold of clenbuterol (or maximum, depending on how one frames it) is the appropriate determination of wrongdoing, he may be found to be below that threshold and thus retain his Tour title.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

17 thoughts on “That nagging “trace amount” argument

  1. “Inversely, if the UCI determines that a minimum threshold of clenbuterol (or maximum, depending on how one frames it) is the appropriate determination of wrongdoing, he may be found to be below that threshold and thus retain the Tour title.”

    Huh??? Don’t they already have that worked out? Or they make it up as they go along?

  2. Urine concentration of this type of drug peaks and decays quickly. If there was a threshold, then a measurement below that level wouldn’t mean a rider hadn’t taken it. Just that he hadn’t taken a lot of it within the last day or two. It’s just too big of a loophole.

  3. What I really find interesting is that these guys are eating meat, other than a organic poultry, during a stage race. Large animal meat ain’t the most efficient way for an elite athlete to get the protein he needs to recover and stay peaked.

    (I ain’t no veggie nor a non-meat eater.)

  4. …jeezus…we lose power here for 48 hours (huge tree limb, power lines, blah, blah, blah) & i log in to a completely different world !!!…

    …contador, ‘zeke mosquera & davvy garcia…wtf, excuse me, what the fuck ???…

    …idiots until proven otherwise ???…

    …holy shit…

  5. When the UCI and/or WADA must justify an investigation, it does make one wonder how many folks are simply looking for any excuse possible to go after any sucessful racer.

    I just watched the PBS special, “The Tenth Inning”, a follow-up to Ken Burns’ “Baseball” series. In this installment, the whole steroid mess — and the response to it by owners, players and the Baseball Commissioner, before and after Congressional pressure — is explored in depth.

    Unfortunately, at least a couple of sportwriters interviewed for the story end up sounding like apologists, citing the fall-from-grace of so many big-name players as little more than Baseball reaching its “maturity” as a sport. Now that we no longer need to hold baseball’s stars accountable for their actions (as evidenced by the fact that stats will NOT be entered into the books with an asterisk, and several accused of doping are still under strong Hall-Of-Fame consideration), these writers tell us, fan are free to love the game again without having to study their own hipocrisy too deeply.

    Barry Bonds, the most graphic example of a steroid-abuser who would never be caught (since he was let go on waivers in 2008 and hasn’t played since), but who remained under scrutiny, made the most telling observation. He said (paraphrasing here) that it was fine for fans to suspect him of drug abuse and to tell him “you suck”, but the fact is that he could still fill a ballpark with 50,00 fans who were willing to pay very good money to boo him. Though he may end up looking like a bad guy here, he makes the salient point that he’s not the only one, and points a finger right back at the fans — who keep on buying team souivenirs and tickets.

    Are cycling fans very different? How many fans are still willing to camp out by the roadside in anticipation of their favorites passing by on a stage of a Grand Tour, or tune it to watch races unfold on Universal Sports or ESPN, knowing all the while that probably far too many of them have benefitted from illegal subtances and will continue to do so in the future? How many of them see their own hipocrasy, and how many will even care?

  6. Who cares how it got in him, or in what amount or how effective that amount might be.

    Sorry, but if there is no mercy for the likes of Tom Zirbel (who even submitted himself to the snipings of the internet desk jockeys here) for a tainted supplement or Fuyu Li (Who got popped for the exact same substance at the same concentrations), there should be none for AC.
    Would ww like it to be different? yep. Would we like to have the rule possibly ammended based off of the results of this rider’s claim? sure.

    Sadly though, these are the rules they are playing by now, and he should submit to his suspension and work on changing the rules for future racers.

  7. I would have been inclined to believe that the test result was a false positive,
    EXCEPT
    I found it suspicious that he had an excuse so quickly ready.

    If it really was a false positive, I would have expected him to say “I have NO idea how it happened”, because THAT would be the truth.

  8. The equipment used to test samples now is so sensitive that testing for specific substance can return a result of we don’t think it’s there, but we cannot say it is not.

    A lab in Great Britain that tests race horses for performance enhancing substances tested our products for a specific substance. We tested products we manufactured and products that were outsourced and made in facilities where the specific substance had never been used or even in the facility. Result came back as “not-negative” for all of the products tested including the outsourced products.

    The positive results that were expected were in amounts so small it would be physically impossible to ingest enough to evoke a biological response.

    Bottom line: Clentondador may be lying…but he may be telling the truth in denying wrongful action.

    If WADA were reasonable, the rules would read that a substance must be present in an amount that could actually have made a difference in performance. That way ticky-tack positives won’t lead to injustice.

    Punish the cheaters. Don’t punish innocents.

    Which is Clentondador? I have no idea.

  9. Murali, UCI informed AC’s camp of the + test in August. He has had time to prep for yesterday.

    It does grow tiresome that this continues to happen to our beautiful sport. For me, taking out the kings, however, actually leads to more restful dreams. 2 grand tour podiums gone from history and thumb-sucking for 2 years. Awesome!

    What we need to really fight is AC beating this rap. And continue to make sure LA’s image is forever tarnished too. So that little girl riding Lightweights today can still have an equipment-only advantage tomorrow. Man this shit got flowery. Save the whales!

  10. Tainted meat? Meaty taint? Who knows? Who cares? PEDs been around since day one. Like Coppi never took speed.