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Wednesday 25 April 2018

Cycling: Contador case makes WADA rethink rules

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officials could consider proposing changes to rules regarding the banned anabolic clenbuterol at a meeting in Montreal next week, WADA science director Olivier Rabin said yesterday.

Spain's Tour de France champion Alberto Contador tested positive for clenbuterol in last year's race but said he had inadvertently consumed the substance in contaminated meat.

Five Mexico footballers also tested positive for it this month but the country's soccer federation has attributed the results to meat eaten on a training camp in Mexico ahead of the Gold Cup tournament in the United States.

Rabin said officials may have found "a way forward" allowing "context" to be considered before an automatic two-year ban is imposed on athletes testing positive for the drug.

"There are few cases of clenbuterol so it's not impossible to handle on a case-by-case basis," Rabin said. "The fear of meat contamination by doping substances is nothing new. Before it was testosterone and now clenbuterol. With a limited number of countries, there is the risk that meat can be contaminated by clenbuterol," said Rabin.

Contador was initially handed a one-year ban by the Spanish cycling federation. However, it was lifted in February when the Spanish federation accepted the rider's explanation that he had eaten contaminated meat.

WADA and the International Cycling Union have appealed against that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but Contador is free to defend his Tour title ahead of a decision in August.

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