This headline is timeless.

Regardless of the year, the news that a Tour de France winner tested positive for steroids, or any other banned substance, is about as shocking as the sun rising every morning or Lindsay Lohan entering rehab.  I’m sorry, that’s a cheap shot.  I shouldn’t put the rising sun in the same category as a falling star…Wow, that’s bad, too.  Ok, I’ll stop now.

So here we are, once again, this time talking about Alberto Contador, a three-time winner of the Tour de France. According to news reports, Contador tested positive for clenbuterol, also known as “clen” by the drugs’ closest friends.

Here’s the statement released by Contador’s people, “The experts consulted so far have agreed also that this is a food contamination case, especially considering the number of tests passed by Alberto Contador during the Tour de France, making it possible to define precisely both the time the emergence of the substance as the tiny amount detected, ruling out any other source or intentionality.”

The list of Contador’s experts has not been made known as of this point in time, nor have we been given a clue as to the other possible “source or intentionality.” I find it interesting that these cyclists – and any athlete who tests positive – always manage to inadvertently eat contaminated food that contains the kind of banned, anabolic substance that enhances performance.   Remember Shawne Merriman of the San Diego Chargers?  He had the misfortune of using a protein powder that was spiked with all kinds of banned, potent muscle building agents.

Anyway… Clenbuterol is a synthetic bronchodilator that is prescribed for asthmatics and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Clenbuterol has a reputation of being both anti-catabolic and anabolic in animal studies, which makes this steroid quite desirable for the kind of guy who would want to do well in the Tour de France.  Clen also stimulates your beta-2 receptors; this allows you to burn more stored fat than you normally – naturally – would.

So what this means in simple language is that clenbuterol is both muscle-sparing and muscle building – great for recovering during a grueling competitive event – while allowing the body to use more of its stored fat for fuel.  This is a great deal for any athlete.

So like I said, isn’t it so crazy that a Tour de France winner would have the amazingly dumb luck to inadvertently eat food tainted with precisely the kind of steroid that could improve their performance?


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