6. The Stories They Tell

Cycling history’s most inventive alibis for drug scandals

Jun 20, 2011
Outside Magazine
Doping Tour De France cyclists

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 won't prevent him from racing in this year’s Tour, but it did earn him a spot on our list.

1. 1983
Adri van der Poel
Dutch Tour de France Rider
SUBSTANCE: Strychnine
EXCUSE: His father fed him pie made from euthanized pigeons.

2. 1992
Alexi Grewal
1984 U.S. Olympic road-race gold medalist
EXCUSE: He’d gorged himself on poppyseed muffins.

3. 2002
Frank Vandenbroucke
Belgian wunderkind
SUBSTANCE: Possession of EPO, morphine, and clenbu­terol
EXCUSE: They were medicines for his anemic dog.

4. 2002
Edita Rumsas
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.

5. 2004
Tyler Hamilton
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.

6. 2006
Floyd Landis
dethroned Tour champion
DRUG: Testosterone
EXCUSE: General manliness and whiskey were to blame for above-normal T levels.

7. 2007
Björn Leukemans
Belgian journeyman
DRUG: Testosterone
EXCUSE: Hey, he was having sex when the drug testers showed up unannounced to take his urine sample.

8. 2010
Alberto Contador
DRUG: Clenbuterol
EXCUSE: His steak was contaminated.