Cycling veteran Michael Rogers of Australia has been provisionally suspended by the world’s governing body of cycling. The three-time world time trial champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist tested positive for Clenbuterol, a drug used to treat asthma and used by athletes to cut body fat.

The 33-year-old has however claimed that the positive urine sample during his victory at the Japan Cup Road Race on October 20 may have been caused by contaminated food. The Saxo-Tinkoff rider denies deliberate doping but the UCI said the provisional suspension of Rogers would remain in force until a hearing convened by Cycling Australia identifies whether or not Rogers has committed an anti-doping rule violation. The cyclist competed in China a week before his positive drugs test. This was despite the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency issuing a warning in the past to exercise a high sense of care and caution in China because of the use of illicit use of the growth promoter in livestock there.

In a statement, Saxo-Tinkoff said Michael Rogers immediately informed the team management about the notification from the UCI and the Australian explained to the team management that he never ingested the substance knowingly nor deliberately and fears that the adverse analytical finding origins (came) from a contaminated food source. It added that Rogers participated in the Tour of Beijing the week before the Japan Cup and traveled directly from China to Japan.

Rogers won three consecutive World Time Trial Championships between 2003 and 2005 and was upgraded to bronze in the time trial at the 2004 Atlanta Olympics after Tyler Hamilton was disqualified. The cyclist has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample. A veteran of nine Tour de France campaigns, Rogers left Team Sky where he rode in support of 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins. He left Team Sky after he was named in evidence in the Lance Armstrong case as working with Michele Ferrari, the favored doctor of Armstrong.

Meanwhile, Interim Cycling Australia chief executive Adrian Anderson has remarked Rogers should face maximum ban if found guilty. He remarked Cycling Australia would support the maximum sanctions under the World Anti-Doping Agency code if the veteran cyclist is found guilty of doping and added that the fact that the drug testing process continues to uncover positive tests should be a lesson to all cyclists that if they chose to dope they can expect to be caught. In a statement, Cycling Australia said Michael Rogers does not hold an Australian racing licence and sanctions against him would not be determined by Cycling Australia if charges against Rogers are proven right. Anderson added that Cycling Australia would support the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, and the applicable national federation in whatever action they deem appropriate.

The world’s governing body of cycling also announced that Belgian rider Jonathan Breyne has also been suspended for a positive test for Clenbuterol at the Tour of Taihu Lake in China on November 5.

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