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Cycling: Experts says Alberto Contador's claim is plausible

Cycling

Experts: Contador's claim plausible

LONDON — Tour de France champion Alberto Contador's claim that the steak he ate is to blame for his positive doping test is possible, experts say, because the drug he's accused of taking is sometimes illegally given to cattle. Clenbuterol is used to speed up growth and increase muscle mass in animals, including chickens, cattle and pigs, and typically has been used by bodybuilders.

Contador has been provisionally suspended after the International Cycling Union said a "small concentration" of clenbuterol was found in his urine during the Tour de France. Thursday, he said he ate beef brought in from Spain on a rest day. Doctors said it is nearly impossible for Contador to have received any performance boost from eating clenbuterol-spiked meat.

"The amounts would be incredibly small unless you were eating vast quantities of meat," said Andrew Franklyn-Miller, a sports medicine expert at the Centre for Human Performance in London and a doctor for Britain's rowing team. "It's very unlikely that the night before a stage in the mountains anyone would be eating three or four steaks."

Michael Audran, a doping expert who works closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency, said the amount of clenbuterol found in Contador's sample was so small, it is unlikely he was abusing the drug and the contamination theory is the only explanation for the positive result.

Spain has had several reports of health problems linked to clenbuterol after people ate beef and veal containing it. In the 1990s, about 100 people became sick. The drug is legal in Europe only for animals that aren't intended for human consumption but is sometimes used to produce more lean meat.

NBA

Unhappy Martin will take his time on rehab

Denver F Kenyon Martin said he won't rush his rehab from knee surgery partly because he has no contract after this season and "Ain't nobody in a hurry to give me one, so why would I be in a hurry to risk further injury?"

Martin, 32, added he isn't happy the Nuggets signed fellow F Al Harrington to a five-year, $33 million deal in the offseason.

"I don't know what the plan is," said Martin, who will earn $16.5 million this season. "And it doesn't seem like it includes Kenyon past this year."

Martin's health might be why. In the first six seasons of his seven-year, $93 million deal, he has never played every game and has had surgery on both knees. After last season, when he averaged 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds over 58 games, he had surgery for a torn left patella tendon.

Moves: The Pacers and Raptors picked up the option on the deals of C Roy Hibbert and G DeMar DeRozan, respectively, so both are signed through next season.

Et cetera

Tennis: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, in his first match since winning the U.S. Open, beat Ruben Bemelmans 6-1, 6-4 at the Thailand Open in Nonthaburi. Nadal, who faces Mikhail Kukushkin in today's quarters, lost eight service points. … No. 5 Robin Soderling beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-0, 6-1 to reach the quarters of the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur. Soderling, who faces Andrey Golubev, lost eight points in the first set.

Horses: Santa Anita plans to replace its synthetic surface with dirt. The California Horse Racing Board still must approve the change.

Media: ESPN personality and AOL Fanhouse writer Jay Mariotti pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery stemming from an August incident with a woman. He got 36 months of probation and community service and must take a domestic violence course. Six counts were dropped. His lawyer said they were confident of prevailing at trial but it would have been long and expensive.

Times wires

Cycling: Experts says Alberto Contador's claim is plausible 09/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 30, 2010 9:41pm]
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