I Am Ready To Help Contador Beat His Doping Rap

10.1.2010 | 10:04 am

A Note from Fatty: Today is the last day you can enter in the contest to win an Orbea Orca with Shimano Di2 components or a trip to Austin to ride with Team Fatty at the Ride for the Roses. Click here for details, or click here to enter now!

The cycling world is buzzing with the news that Alberto Contador — three-time winner of the Tour de France, for those of you who don’t really follow pro cycling — tested positive for clenbuterol during the Tour de France last July.

Here are the basic facts, as I understand them:

  • Clenbuterol is an asthsma medication, and also works as a stimulant, and has the side benefit of making you lose weight. Both WADA and UCI have it listed as a banned substance for pro cyclists.
  • The sample Contador tested positive with had a tiny amount of Clenbuterol in it: 50 picograms (trillionths of a gram). To get a sense of how much that is, I googled “picture a trillion” and found a page that is very helpful: it helps you visualize a trillion by showing what a trillion dollars would look like if you stacked $100 bills on pallettes. Here’s the (ahem) money shot (to get perspective of how big this would be, note that the tiny figure in the bottom left is a man):
    So fifty trillionths would be if you took one of those $100 bills from that ginormous array of pallettes of stacks of $100 bills, and made change for $50. In other words, a 50 picogram concentration of clenbuterol is an unimaginably small amount and wouldn’t — on its own merits — do Contador any good.
  • The only reason Contador tested positive was because the lab his samples (both his main and backup sample tested positive) is outrageously high-tech and was able to detect levels with incredible sensitivity.
  • Contador does not dispute that Clenbuterol was in his system. Instead, he claims that the way the Clenbuterol got into his system was by eating some meat that was brought in from Spain. Since — evidently — Clenbuterol is (illegally in the US, not so sure about Spain) used to make cows have more muscle mass.

Contador has given a press conference, where he strenuously denied any wrongdoing. The most awesome thing about this press conference, if you ask me, is the following photograph and caption from VeloNews :


Yes, that’s right. “Contador left the conference in a news conference.” Kudos to the crack team of journalists at VeloNews for that informative and interesting photograph and caption.

And also, is there any possible way they could have made Contador look any more like a Very Sinister James Bond Villain?

Here, let me try:


OK, I suppose it is possible.

Sorry, I’m having a hard time getting to my main point, which is this: I know exactly how to help Contador get to the bottom of this Clenbuterol-tainted-beef (or, as I’d like everyone to start referring to it, “Beefgate”) problem.

Furthermore, I’m going to make my services available to help him. Because that’s the kind of personI am.

The Simple Solution

In order for Contador to convince UCI, WADA, and the public that he really truly was a victim of an unfortunate dinner entree selection, he simply needs to show how the effect can be replicated. This can be done by following these simple steps:

  1. Get a cow. A really top-quality one, preferably, for reasons that will come clear in a moment.
  2. Inject the cow (or use an inhaler, if that’s the way it’s done, and I hope it is because that’s a hilarious image) with the amount of Clenbuterol that one might normally inject the cow with in order to achieve the desired results of better, leaner meat. Or maybe they use
  3. Wait the normal period of time for the Clenbuterol to do its thing.
  4. Slaughter and butcher the cow.
  5. Find someone who currently does not test positive for Clenbuterol and is willing to eat as much steak as necessary to prove a point. I — as a person who has never used asthsma medication, cannot afford to buy performance enhancing drugs, and looooves steak — will be happy to volunteer. Maybe I can get a bunch of friends to volunteer too, and we’ll fire up the grill and turn this experiment into an awesome scientific barbecue.
  6. Feed me the steak. Oh, you’d better give me plenty, just to make sure I’m good and contaminated.
  7. Test me to see if I’m all Clenbutorolized. If I’m not, you’d better give me another steak. Hey, I’m happy to help.

Of course, it’s totally possible that the first time we conduct this experiment, I may not get the cut with the Clenbuterol in it. For that reason, we’d better go ahead and get a whole bunch of cows and load them up with varying amounts of Clenbuterol.

And then, on a regular basis, you can send me different cuts, with differing amounts of Clenbuterol. Send plenty, though, because — as I believe I have mentioned — I loooove steak.

Eventually, I’m bound to pop a positive result. Alberto’s name will be cleared, and I’ll have eaten a lot of delicious beef. And with any luck, all that Clenbuterol will clear up my sinuses and help me lose some weight, too. Totally win-win.

I’m here and ready to help you get past Beefgate, Alberto. Because I’m that kind of guy.

And because I loooove steak.

PS: Yesterday, when The Runner got home from work, she said, “Guess who I saw in the hospital today with a broken leg.” I guessed Kenny first, because his bones are like balsa wood, but more brittle. Then I guessed Sunderlage, because that’s the kind of Summer he’s had. Then I guessed Mark, because he has terrible bike handling skills. Then I guessed Dug, because I kind of hoped it would be Dug.

Finally, The Runner gave up. “No,” she said, “It’s KanyonKris’s wife Jolene. She broke her leg while riding, at the top of Tibble.

For those of you (most of you, except locals) who haven’t met Jolene, she — like KanyonKris — is an incredibly nice person and a lover of bicycles. I was sad to hear of her nasty injury. Be sure to take a minute to read about her fall (here and here) and maybe drop off a note of encouragement at KanyonKris’s blog.


  1. Comment by Jay | 10.1.2010 | 10:20 am

    Brilliant idea, Fatty!

    I’m guessing you could recruit a whole bunch of Team Fatties to help in the experiment. Those of us who are vegetarian could help, too, by being the “control” in the experiment by eating tofu instead of beef.

  2. Comment by Alex | 10.1.2010 | 10:22 am

    This sounds like a stand-up idea……What if the cow also was a dairy cow and you could get some of that milk made into soft server ice-cream…..Just another way you could get “contaminated”….

  3. Comment by Nonamejd | 10.1.2010 | 10:25 am

    This is quite a good idea, one which I am willing to volunteer my services to should you need more people in the experiment group.

  4. Comment by buckythedonkey | 10.1.2010 | 10:36 am

    Seems like a while since the topic has been over-eating. :-)

  5. Comment by Greg Furry | 10.1.2010 | 10:49 am

    I also love steak and would be happy to help. The latest news is that they also found a plastic component they may have come from blood doping. I would suggest that is is probably from the saran-wrap that the meat was wrapped in.

    L’Équipe Raises New Doubts Over Contador

  6. Comment by andy | 10.1.2010 | 10:56 am

    I think you should have a control person and double blind it just to be sure. Also it will be better to get a large sample so there is now doubt, what I am leading up to is if you need additional help, just let me know. I like steak and don’t take any Clenbuterol.

  7. Comment by bikemike | 10.1.2010 | 11:21 am

    Clenbuterol, isn’t that where the nuclear power
    plant in Russia melted down? Then, yeah that stuff
    is probably dangerous.

  8. Comment by Lora | 10.1.2010 | 11:24 am

    I love you… this made me laugh and laugh. Much the same way I laughed and laughed when I first read the news report of Contador’s positive test.

  9. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 10.1.2010 | 11:31 am

    Come on, Fatty.

    With all those pallets of $100 bills you can certainly afford to buy your own steak.

    (BTW – it is pallets, not pallettes, which are metal plates that protect the armpit in a suit of armor. Just consider this one of the perqs of reading this blog).

  10. Comment by UpNorth | 10.1.2010 | 11:45 am

    Just for clarification… Picogram is an amount, not a concentration. For it to be a concentration, there would have to be a volume associated with it. Anyone know what volume units this stuff is normally measured in??

  11. Comment by Hautacam | 10.1.2010 | 11:52 am

    What if the unspecified “cut of meat” is not beef, and was instead horse meat, long preferred by the pro peloton (see, for example, Eddy B’s classic training book from around 1985, Bicycle Road Racing: The Complete Program for Training and Competition)?

    Maybe we could work up some horse meat bratwurst for the Fatty triathlon, and test all participants afterwards.

  12. Comment by Rob M | 10.1.2010 | 11:55 am

    Re: the 10:40am Greg Furry comment and link

    Is it possible that the cow had a blood transfusion?

  13. Comment by MattC | 10.1.2010 | 12:25 pm

    What if the cow was wrapped in plastic before it was slaughtered? You know..wearing one of those silly weight-loss plastic-suits? I hear there are entire farms full of asthmatic cows constantly sucking clenbuteral (thru special cow-inhaler units) and wearing custom made weight-loss cow suits over in Spain (they are made with stretchy-rubber vice vinyl…cows get kind’a big). All AC needs to do is produce pictures of said farms….problem solved.

    Why, I think I once ate tainted cow when I was in Spain. Gave me super-powers for a few days, but I squandered it and didn’t win ANYTHING. I think thats why they STILL ask if I have ever spent any amount of time in Spain when I go to donate blood. Sure, they hide the TRUE issue with that bogus Mad-Cow scary-story…clearly they are worried about the clenbuteral sucking dieting cows.

  14. Comment by Weiland | 10.1.2010 | 12:34 pm

    You know Landis is kicking himself and saying “Why didn’t I think of that, the cow defense, so simple, I ate a steak doped up on testosterone the night before.”

  15. Comment by MattC | 10.1.2010 | 12:38 pm

    Landis will only really be kicking himself if AC gets off…which remains to be seen. But right now he IS probably thinking that AC had a much better story than the Jack Daniels defense he tried initially.

  16. Comment by Dave | 10.1.2010 | 12:42 pm

    Mmmm – contaminated, lean meat.

  17. Comment by centurion | 10.1.2010 | 12:51 pm

    Better plan; cook the cow whole, everybody gets a knife and fork, eat until there are just bones lets, test everybody, the person with the highest Clenbuterol level gets a TDF trophy.

  18. Comment by Chris | 10.1.2010 | 1:05 pm

    @UpNorth, I thought I put the anal in analytical chemist. Yes, is this picograms/total body mass or picograms/picoliter solution?

  19. Comment by kentucky joe | 10.1.2010 | 1:14 pm

    “beef, albeit steroid-laden beef, that’s what’s for dinner”

    This message brought to you by The Spanish Beef Council

  20. Comment by Eric | 10.1.2010 | 1:16 pm


    I am surprised you missed the most obvious (to me) name for this whole thing: Taintgate. Could a cycling scandal be called anything else?

  21. Comment by Caleb | 10.1.2010 | 1:21 pm

    Haha, funny post man. I knew something was coming as I scrolled down and saw the evil looking eyes of Alberto. I like your idea to test the clenbuterol levels too.

  22. Comment by Paul G | 10.1.2010 | 1:45 pm

    I kept reading it as “BeefyGate”, which I actually kind of prefer.

  23. Comment by Darth Vader | 10.1.2010 | 1:48 pm

    Alright, alright. I’ll be good. Don’t want no stinkin’ deletion here, but, my plan is working! First, bring Landis to the dark side, then try to get Lance to the dark side (still trying) then el spainard himself, CONTADOR! NEXT, it is you my friend. Eat that beef and come to the dark side FATTY…… :-) Just look at those evil eyes.

  24. Comment by Anne | 10.1.2010 | 1:48 pm

    Hee hee. Thanks for putting a smile on my face with this post. Sounds like hard work consumering all the beef/steaks just to clear Alberto.

  25. Comment by Shawn | 10.1.2010 | 2:04 pm


  26. Comment by kingsbridgedr | 10.1.2010 | 2:15 pm

    I am sure Lance would be happy to BBQ the beef for you at his ranch during the Ride for the Roses as we know he LOVES Alberto!!

  27. Comment by cece at work | 10.1.2010 | 2:58 pm

    I am laughing hysterically at my desk…passers by are wondering why I have that cow eating grin on my face!

  28. Comment by rokrider | 10.1.2010 | 3:02 pm

    I don’t get it, before my last ride I ate a cheeseburger, and I didn’t go any faster.

  29. Comment by Nahh | 10.1.2010 | 3:48 pm

    Taking that stuff for asthma sucks…and the weight you lose as a side-effect is usually muscle. Just sayin’.

    great read, thanks :)

  30. Comment by Squirrelhead | 10.1.2010 | 4:37 pm

    I am reporting for duty! Bring on the STEAK!! Team Fatty to the rescue!

  31. Comment by A imaginairy Contador | 10.1.2010 | 5:10 pm

    My career is seriously at steak.

  32. Comment by Lucky Cyclist | 10.1.2010 | 6:39 pm

    On a Jolene Nosack side note. We came up on her after the accident and as she was waiting for S&R she said, “Didn’t you read Elden’s Blog today?” You know, the one about injuries and learned responses to avoid them.
    I think she blames you for jinxing her.(Not really)

  33. Comment by Carl | 10.1.2010 | 9:14 pm

    Both your story and the responses have been hilarious. Thanks!

  34. Comment by Chemist | 10.1.2010 | 10:24 pm

    Regarding the clenbuterol level, the UCI website reports the amount as 50 picograms per ml, so there’s your denominator.

  35. Comment by MarkG | 10.2.2010 | 12:03 am

    Love you Fatty! You always find a way to help.

  36. Comment by Jim Miller | 10.2.2010 | 1:16 am

    Before Floyd admitted his use of banned substances I would have not believed Alberto could be guilty…I mean he obviously took more drug tests before this positives, so why would he take a banned substance in the middle of the race…but then came floyd

  37. Comment by Don Davis | 10.2.2010 | 3:45 am

    Any leftovers can be turned into a new snack food: Oh Boy Alberto’s Enhanced Jerky Strips!

  38. Comment by Erik | 10.2.2010 | 8:46 am

    Austin Team Fatties, let’s test this theory in a few weeks!

  39. Comment by Cannonball | 10.2.2010 | 9:38 am

    Dear Fatty:

    Sorry to inform you of this, but butchering a steer as part of a scientific experiment is against the law (or at the minimum, against the principles of the SPCA, PETA, MPAA, etc.). However, if the steer(s) were sent to the prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay, then anything goes. Of course one would first have to declare the steer as an enemy combatant. [You know, now that I have written that, it sounds too political. Sorry.]

    My point is, it would be much simpler (and less politically incorrect) for the UCI to appoint you, Fatty, and 99 of your best friends (plus me for suggesting it) as official clenbuterol control subjects; and as official clenbuterol testers, fly all of us to Spain for a month to eat (presumably) at the finest restaurants and steak houses. Then at the end of the vacati– er, experiment, send us all to France for another month to be tested for the presence of approximately 50 picograms of clenbuterol. We would of course need the entire month in France to see if the clenbuterol readings dropped to zero, like Contador’s did during the nearly month-long TdF.

    It’s a perfect solution: the SPCA, MPAA, and others will be placated. Contador, presumably, would be exonerated. The UCI and their labs would start giving reasonable results (remember Armstrong’s saddle sore ointment flap–again minuscule amounts of banned substance), and certain group of 100 drug testers would be heroes.


    Cannonball Costanzo

  40. Comment by Eufamio Fuentes, pos (performance optimization specialist) | 10.2.2010 | 11:59 am

    For the record, I have never met Senor Contador, he has never visited my home or lab, where he never donated blood, after which I never transfused packed red blood cells into him at various dates in July. Furthermore, it must be just an odd coincidence that I have many entries in my secret back up hard drive listed under “El Pistolero Poquito”, which, as I understand it, is Senor Contador’s cute little doggie.

    Eternally, yet confidentially, at your service,
    Eufamio F.

    PS Does anyone know if they really can test for traces of the plastic used in blood product storage bags?

  41. Comment by MONIKA | 10.2.2010 | 2:42 pm

    Hi from Barcelona!!!
    What a pitty… they are going to destroy cycling…
    Tonight Alberto appaers on a TV programm… let’s see what he says… I will let you kmow…
    Take care and keep on cycling…. and EAT FISH, ;-)

  42. Comment by roan | 10.2.2010 | 6:00 pm

    Hummm…Don’t have a mad cow over this but Spanish ‘cows’ with more lean muscle mass ? Bulls for the ring maybe but cows ? Sounds like a bum steer again…against cycling, UCI why even ‘leak’ the info again, one sample timepoint or more ? A & B samples split from the same collection cup.
    I’ll bet that their high tech lab can pickup cocaine on any bill in my wallet (which is $12 worth) I must be on drugs. CarboRocket & a protein drink, the only way to go.
    ps; drug testing on ALL politicians after every bill passed.

  43. Comment by Sunny | 10.2.2010 | 7:16 pm

    you are one crazy hilarious writer and I’ve decided your 42 followers above are no better! You are all so entertaining. Keep it up! Its fun to laugh in a rather stressful time. Thanks all.

  44. Comment by Joe | 10.2.2010 | 7:24 pm

    Contador and Eddie Munster – separated at birth?

  45. Comment by KanyonKris | 10.2.2010 | 9:02 pm

    Thank you for the PS. I read it with Jolene and we both laughed, thanks for that. It was good to see Lisa at the hospital. Nurses are angels.

    Jolene left the hospital today. The leg still hurts but she is happy to be home.

    Good post, I chuckled several times. I enjoy how you find different (humorous) ways of looking at things. Well done.

  46. Comment by Richard | 10.4.2010 | 2:38 am

    If I was Contador, I would be getting some of that Danish Bacon that Thor Hushovd has obviously been getting into.

  47. Comment by Doug (WAY upstate NY) | 10.4.2010 | 8:24 am

    You know there are some riders out there who would have been tried, convicted, hung, drawn, and quartered by now if this had surfaced about them. Not mentioning any names, but we all know who “they” would LOVE to have even the slightest, smallest positive for.

  48. Comment by Lizzylou | 10.4.2010 | 10:22 am

    So… the cow was doping. I suppose that eating non-organic meat will be the new doping method of choice.

  49. Comment by Lizzylou | 10.4.2010 | 10:23 am

    P.S. I thought he looked more like Spock than like a James Bond Villian, just add some pointy to his ears.

  50. Comment by Jason M | 10.4.2010 | 1:38 pm

    Love the BeefGate story..

    On another note.. I was actually rode up on Jolene when it happened. I wish I could have helped more though. However the trusty Garmin came to the rescue as I had the GPS coordinates to give to the Search and Rescue team. I hope so is doing well!

  51. Comment by Paul | 10.5.2010 | 7:37 pm

    Concerning the teeny tiny amount of banned substance found in Al’s bodily fluids…

    The sad thing about this is that most of the journalist and public scoff at the tiny amount. But laboratories all over the world are able to test for various chemicals at or below this amount all the time. For example, I collect samples for testing for mercury to protect aquatic life in streams. The test can go down to 0.5 nanograms per liter which is the same as 0.5 picograms per milliliter.

    Another thing is just google clenbuterol dosage and you will find forums with dudes talking about taking 20 micrograms a day. So it is not like athletes are consuming massive amounts of this stuff.

  52. Comment by Steveb | 10.6.2010 | 2:07 pm

    aahh…now there appears to more than meets the eye….

  53. Comment by Dave | 10.7.2010 | 3:54 pm

    took a look at your friends broken leg. I rode that trail the following day, and went down once myself. There are some truly insane steep parts of that trail, especially when you are dropping over rocks and logs. Good luck to her.

  54. Comment by Sadness | 10.24.2010 | 10:43 pm

    It’s nice to know that Susan’s replacement violated a HIPPA law there. Noted.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.