Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Steaking a defense: Alberto Contador and the Tour de France

Cyclist Alberto Contador of Spain takes his seat to give a press conference in Pinto on the outskirts of Madrid, Thursday Sept. 30, 2010. Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador tested positive for a banned drug while winning this year's race and has been suspended by cycling's governing body.

Cyclist Alberto Contador of Spain takes his seat to give a press conference in Pinto on the outskirts of Madrid, Thursday Sept. 30, 2010.

As alibis go, Alberto Contador’s has at least has some sizzle.

The Tour de France champion faced the media this week to address a positive drug test that could cost him his title. The World Anti-Doping Agency found in the Spaniard’s blood samples trace amounts of clenbuterol, a banned steroid that can be used by asthmatics to aid breathing.

The drug can also be given illegally to cows and other animals to increase their growth rate, however, and Contador has blamed the positive drug test on a steak he ate during the race.

According to the Associated Press, Contador said the beef was courtesy of a Spanish cycling organizer at the request of his racing team’s chef, who “had complained of poor quality meat at the hotel where the team was staying.”

Contador said he could not deny himself “really good meat” that a friend of his had brought to France, considering “all the trouble that this person had gone through.”

There is some debate about the plausibility of Contador’s excuse. Unfortunately, he most likely will not get the benefit of the doubt. This is cycling, after all; just ask Floyd Landis.

I’ll let Sports Illustrated’s Austin Murphy, a long-time follower of the sport, have the last word on Contador:

I want to believe that he’s a victim, not a cheater. But this is cycling, the sport where our worst fears about doping are often confirmed. I hope he’s clean, and won’t be surprised if he’s not.

Either way, I hope it was a damn good steak.