WADA’s David Howman: Contador’s positive test should be taken seriously

By Dennis Passa, AP
Saturday, October 2, 2010

WADA executive: Contador case is serious

NEW DELHI — World Anti-Doping Agency director-general David Howman says Tour de France champion Alberto Contador’s positive doping test should not be taken any less seriously because only trace amounts were found.

Howman, while not commenting specifically on the Contador case Saturday during a news conference at the Commonwealth Games, says “just because … a small amount is detected, it doesn’t mean you weren’t cheating.

“What you must remember is that you can take a steroid and it can be in your system for many weeks.”

Contador, the three-time Tour de France winner, claims that contaminated meat caused his positive doping test for a “very small concentration” of the banned substance clenbuterol. It was found in his urine sample on July 21 at the Tour. The international cycling federation confirmed the case on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Spanish rider has since called for anti-doping regulations to be revised so that small quantities such as those possibly contained in contaminated food do not count as a positive test.

Howman said WADA annually reviews all substances to determine whether there should be a threshold to “cover situations where there might be inadvertent doping.”

“I think there is a fine balance there,” Howman said. “So what do you want us to do? Find the cheats or put in a level which means some who are cheating get away with it?”

Howman said WADA will have a group of people observing between 1,500 and 2,000 doping tests administered by the Commonwealth Games Federation, including about 150 scheduled before competition begins Monday.

WADA also has its Athlete Outreach Center at the games village, where drug and nutritional experts advise competitors on doping issues.

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