On Friday, federal prosecutors closed their investigation into whether Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs without filing any charges against him.

Today, in a separate case, an appeals court found that Alberto Contador did use clenbuterol, a weight loss and muscle building drug, when he won the 2010 Tour de France. If you recall, Contador blamed tainted meat for introducing the substance into his body, though he tested positive for plasticizers commonly found in IV bags at the same time.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, overturned the original ruling by the Spanish cycling federation that cleared Contador. The effect is a two-year racing ban from the time of the accusation, which ends on August 5th and strips him of all race results during that time, including the 2010 TdF. That means Andy Schleck will become the de facto winner of that year’s Tour, and Contador loses his 2011 Giro d’Italia win, among others.

For Armstrong, he can breathe some sigh of relief that the federal criminal inquiry has been dropped, which included investigating possible crimes of defrauding the government, money laundering, drug trafficking and conspiracy. The charges were under consideration largely because his Postal Service team was funded by a U.S. government body rather than private enterprise. This little victory is somewhat overshadowed by an ongoing investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which is supported by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).

More on Contador’s case here, and the full Armstrong story is here.


  1. I’m not saying that I KNOW anything about Lance and what he did or did not do, but it’s not unheard of for great athletes to pop up over time that simply exceed the current level of competition. Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt etc… There is one in almost every sport at some point in history. They simply take the sport to a new level whether wrapped in controversy or not.

    With that said, I think that it is reasonable to speculate that over the course of 7 wins, Lance’s many competitors did everything they could to “bridge the gap” and beat him. Most probably assumed he was doping whether they had proof or not and decided to do it themselves to get into his league which explains the volume of doping scandals in as many years.

    Again, I don’t know if he doped or not, but I find it somewhat telling that so many are getting busted and yet Lance still has not. Call it a conspiracy, but it’s an awful hard thing to hide with so much press and witch hunting.

  2. C’mon the Fed were never gonna touch him.
    he’s a fricken nat’l monument waiting to be built somewhere in austin by now. only thing that’s gonna stain that…pigeons. let’s put babies on spikes to celebrate!

  3. Matt. M great point of view. With any success comes the jealousy and naysayers……Haters Gonna Hate! Winners Win….if he doped or not he was ahead of the game good for him. Evolution of the sport weather it be dope or the newest electronic group.

  4. Amazing how much dicking around Novitski did trying to nail Lance, Clemens, and Bonds only to come up empty in all three. Common among the three? big legal teams who demonized all those who dared accuse the marketing machines these guys became. Lance is who Nike, Oakley, and Trek etc. shape him to be.

  5. I still believe the Contador case was a complete witch hunt. 50picograms…. That is 400x less than the level required by WADA to look for. If my math is right, 50 picograms = 0.0000000005 mg. Yah.

    When they said trace amounts, this is getting near the area of being undetectable.

    I really think that lawyers are capable of taking any data and contorting it into what they want it to say.

    I don’t care whether contador wasn’t doping or not, but just the case in general was bullshit.

  6. @WV – not quite. a picogram is 10^-9 milligrams, so 50 picograms = 0.00000005 mg. And that was per milliliter. I don’t know if this is a reasonable estimate, but if an adult male body is ~70 liters of tissue, that’s 0.0035 mg, or 3.5 micrograms, of Clenbuterol in his body. According to Wikipedia, a typical prescription for Clenbuterol is 20-60 micrograms per day. If he had been using Clen for weight loss before the tour at this dosage, there could easily be 3.5 micrograms left in his system during the tour.

  7. It is all beyond being sport. This is entertainment! I don’t like it, but I don’t have a spare billion dollars to have a real say by buying off all the right people. In the end this is not about Contador being right or wrong, using stimulants or not, it seems to be about getting the results that the powers that be want.

  8. This is all bad for cycling. And I am not talking about doping or not doping. Geez how long has this taken! And the verdict, not that “he was wrong” but that “he seems to have wrongly done something”. The handling of this has been far from professional. Anyway Contador has continued racing since this alleged incident and has kept on winning. He has my support.

  9. What has been done to Contador, erasing his victories in these past 2 years with no firm evidence is just a shame, no other sport would accept something like this mock of a trial we’ve been witnessing these years. Lance has been prosecuted for years. Contador is one of the actual references in cycling and this whole trial looks as dirty as it can get. This is doing little in favour of the sport…  is it impossible to have that level for any other reason? There’s no certainty in the final resolution, nor any further trace found in the following tests done in the different races he has raced and won (now magically deleted by the court). Contador itself has authorized to use his frozen samples anytime (now or in the future) for further analyses.

    The problem, i guess, is that he fought against what he thought was unfair and did not accept an initial softer proposal from TAS, because he defends his innocence. I simply cannot believe he has doped… at least intentionally… any of us with a simple cold and getting standard medication will probably turn positive with higher levels than the ones he’s been condemned with. In any trial you’re innocent unless there’s proof you’re not, not the other way round. Period.

  10. You know, it not a jealousy thing, or a witch hunt. The dope they are using boosts performance significantly. When you have a good number of the world’s ELITE athletes testing positive, including Jan Ulrich, Marco Pantani, Tyler Hamilton, Floyd, etc and Lance just rode away from these ELITE DOPED athletes like it was nothing *continuously* for 7 years?

    I would much rather live in a country that frees guilty people than emprisons the innocent; I really do not know whether he doped or not. I do know all this contraversy makes cycling look bad.

    If you think he rode 3000 + miles on little jelly ham sandwiches, bannanas, and sports drinks, and you do not at least *wonder* whether he doped, you’re just plain gullible.

  11. @Mr. Sixty, for the record, neither Ullrich or Pantani tested positive. Ullrich was implicated in the Puerto investigation…Pantani was pulled from the Giro for “Health Reasons” due to a +50% hemocrit (but not a positive…) This helps put Armstrong’s claims regarding never testing positive into perspective…

  12. Ulrich tested + for Amph? I think Pantani died of a cocaine overdose?

    Of course, these cases weren’t bike related, but it seems pretty reckless/ careless on their part, considering the scrutiny these athetes and their organisations are under. If these athletes have no ethical issue with these illegal recreational drugs, it’s not to big of a stretch to think they’ll dope under carefully controlled medical supervision, no?

    Does this also help put Armstrong’s claims regarding testing positive into perspective?

    Drug testing is EXPENSIVE and COMPLEX, no doubt.

    “Health reasons” seems like a legalese way of saying “there’s no reasonable way your hemo is 50% naturally (I think he tested as high as 60%), and we don’t have a test that will stand in court for what your taking (yet), but common sense says anyone w/ hemo levels as high as yours is at health risk”?

    Look, I don’t know if these guys dope(d) or not. I don’t really care all that much either. I do care how the reputation effects the sport though.

    Much like professional body building, there’s a reason there’s so much controversy surrounding professional cycling, and I stand by that if – based on the circumstances- you do not at least *wonder* if these guys dope, you’re flat-out gullible… no jealousy or witch hunt necessary.


    Would you encourage your children to become professional road cyclists?

    I know I wouldn’t.

What do you think?