Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was suspended from cycling after he tested positive for clenbuteral, a growth accelerating drug used by body builders.  His defense?  It wasn’t me, it was my dinner.

Cantador claims he ate a steak contaminated with the clenbuteral on a Tour de France off day in July, a meal that caused his blood to test positive for a “small concentration” of the drug, which is sometimes illegally given to cattle.  Yesterday, Contador’s chef, Paco Olalla, backed him up on the claim, explaining that he brought the meat from Spain because “the meat in France was awful.”

“I take care of everything I buy,” Olalla told Spanish newspaper Diario de Burgos.  “Astana [Contador’s cycling team sponsor] demanded from me a receipt for everything and I gave it to them.  Now everyone in the world is looking for this receipt.  The receipt exists and Astana has it, and it will reappear if they want it to.”

If the receipt surfaces, authorities will attempt to trace the meat back to its source.  As the UK’s Telegraph reported yesterday, “Although the [European Commission] has outlawed the use of Clenbuterol in livestock feed following regular outbreaks of illness in the 90s from people eating such meat, the practice is still considered to be widespread in certain areas.”  

Doctors and doping experts told multiple international media outlets that the meat theory is plausible, and that the low levels found in Contador’s blood would not have been performance-enhancing.