Where’s the Beef, with Clenbuterol


Alberto Contador probably doesn’t like the hand that fate as dealt him, the greatest Grand Tour rider of his generation and yet he always seems to be  cast as a villain instead of the glorious hero, and now a villain who cheats, maybe cheats.

If you haven’t been following along with Contador’s story here’s the deal. Apparently at last year’s Tour de France, you might remember him winning it, he tested positive for Clenbuterol, which is a potent stimulant and thermogenic drug.  Contador claimed it was in some steak he ate, as it is sometimes used in meat to keep it leaner.  His story didn’t stick and he was going to receive a ban.

Apparently now he’s not going to receive a ban, apparently the Spanish Federation bought his story, the WORLD COURT of sport could still ban him?  My question is why are we talking about this?  The amount of the drug he had in his system was so tiny (50 picograms/millilitre, or 40 times less than the required limit of detection) that the odds of him taking it as a performance enhancer are negligible. 

I like bike racing and enjoy reading about it, but I am losing interest in it because of BS stories like this one.  Why is cycling placed under such a microscope?  How could the ingestion of some tainted beef ruin the reputation and life of an athlete, and secondly why should we even care if he doped in the first place.

All the people running around trumpeting the “Purity of the Sport” or some such nonsense are living in a dream world, very little in this world is pure, certainly not cycle racing.  Under the table deals, cheating, and doping have been par for the course since 1903 when the first Tour was held.  Pushing the riders to the extremes of human suffering and asking them not to take a pill that will help them recover isn’t going to work.  Face facts, they are all doing everything humanly possible to go faster and recover more quickly.  Some teams play a big act about how anti-doping their program is, that’s just because whatever dope they’re using isn’t on the banned list yet.    Dopers aren’t ruining the sport, they are the sport.

If I could get my hands on some Clenbuterol I’d take it, as long as I was sure the dosage was safe, of course it costs about 100 dollars per bottle so I’m going to have to stick to caffine.  The reward is so much lower for me than it is for any pro that I don’t understand how those guys can resist.  While I am fed up with the war on doping I don’t advocate we return to the early 90s where riders doped their blood so thick they died in their sleep.  Hematocrit levels should be monitored, the 50% level has been deemed safe. 

I’m sure that he war on doping is here to stay, but year after year of more doping stories is going to leech away people’s interest in the sport not to mention overshadow the great achievements and suffering the athletes go through.

About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
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2 Responses to Where’s the Beef, with Clenbuterol

  1. We all dope. I use aspirin on long rides to ease pain and help me finish. Female make-up is doping – they hope it will help them look better. And don’t get me started on the “doping” of celebrities (breast implants, botox, facelifts, etc.).

    I heard it said, “If the whole world were blind, would you still comb your hair?” We all dope.

    Every supplement you use, whether or not it’s “natural”, and maybe especially if it’s not natural, is dope. All the powder we carry to mix into our bottles is dope.

    It surprises me that as a culture, we come down hard on using “illegal drugs” as doping, but have cabinets full of dope which some legislator has declared legal. I’m fed up with the discussion, too, Matt. I say, let ’em ride, and the last man still on his bike wins.

  2. Steve says:

    Nice post. I’ve been considering a Contadore post myself. I agree with you and wonder why there is so much hand-wringing when the sport has never been without incredible amounts of doping allegations for over a century. In fact, it is a rare year when some major scandal DOESN’T erupt.

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