Tour de France Doping All-Stars

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
(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

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

Adri van der Poel doping scandal young cycling
(Wikimedia Commons)


1992: Alexi Grewal

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

Alexi Grewal doping scandal
(Getty Images)


2002: Frank Vandenbroucke

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

Frank Vandenbroucke doping scandal
(Wikimedia Commons)


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.

edita rumsas doping scandal
(WDR2)


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.

tyler hamilton doping
(Wikimedia Commons)


2006: Floyd Landis

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

floyd landis doping scandal lance armstrong
(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.

Björn Leukemans doping scandal cycling
(Wikimedia Commons)


2010: Alberto Contador

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

alberto contador doping scandal
(Wikimedia Commons)


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."

(SRAM Road Diaries/Flickr)


2013: Sylvain Georges

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

(Thomas Ducroquet/Flickr)

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