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  • Photo: Daniel D. Snyder

    After testing positive for the veterinary steroid clenbuterol in 2010, Alberto Contador offered a bad-meat defense and then lashed out. “I believed in the anti-doping system,” he said. “I no longer believe.” The controversy didn’t prevent him from racing in the 2011 Tour, but it did earn him a spot on our list of the most insane excuses for doping in cycling history.

    —Chris Keyes

  • 1983: Adri van der Poel

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    1983: Adri van der Poel

    WHO:Dutch Tour de France Rider
    SUBSTANCE: Strychnine
    EXCUSE: His father fed him pie made from euthanized pigeons.

  • 1992: Alexi Grewal

    Photo: Getty Images

    1992: Alexi Grewal

    WHO:1984 U.S. Olympic road-race gold medalist
    SUBSTANCE: Opiates
    EXCUSE: He’d gorged himself on poppyseed muffins.

  • 2002: Frank Vandenbroucke

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    2002: Frank Vandenbroucke

    WHO: Belgian wunderkind
    SUBSTANCE: Possession of EPO, morphine, and clenbuterol
    EXCUSE: They were medicines for his anemic dog.

  • 2002: Edita Rumsas

    Photo: WDR2

    2002: Edita Rumsas

    WHO: Wife of Lithuanian Raimondas Rumsas, who finished third at that year’s Tour
    SUBSTANCE: HGH, EPO, and a dozen other banned materials found in her car by French customs agents as she was leaving the country
    EXCUSE: They were for her mother.

  • 2004: Tyler Hamilton

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    2004: Tyler Hamilton

    WHO: 2004 Olympic gold medalist
    SUBSTANCE: Caught with somebody else’s DNA in his blood
    EXCUSE: The DNA came from his chimeric twin, which had died in utero and been absorbed by Hamilton.

  • 2006: Floyd Landis

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    2006: Floyd Landis

    WHO: Dethroned Tour champion
    SUBSTANCE: Testosterone
    EXCUSE: General manliness and whiskey were to blame for above-normal T levels.

  • 2007: Björn Leukemans

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    2007: Björn Leukemans

    WHO: Belgian journeyman
    SUBSTANCE: Testosterone
    EXCUSE: Hey, he was having sex when the drug testers showed up unannounced to take his urine sample.

  • 2010: Alberto Contador

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    2010: Alberto Contador

    WHO: 2010 Tour de France winner
    SUBSTANCE: Clenbuterol
    EXCUSE: His steak was contaminated.

  • 2011: Riccardo Ricco

    Photo: SRAM Road Diaries/Flickr

    2011: Riccardo Ricco

    WHO: Tour de France stage winner, expert climber
    SUBSTANCE: Rushed to a hospital after self-administering a blood transfusion
    EXCUSE: He gave himself a shot of "iron solution."

  • 2013: Sylvain Georges

    Photo: Thomas Ducroquet/Flickr

    2013: Sylvain Georges

    WHO: Tour of California stage winner
    SUBSTANCE: Heptaminol
    EXCUSE: His homeopathic remedy was tainted.

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