Saxo-Tinkoff rider Michael Rogers has said that he has never “knowingly or deliberately ingested clenbuterol,” and insists he is the victim of food contamination.
The UCI revealed on Wednesday that a sample taken from the 33-year-old Australian at October’s Japan Cup had tested positive for the banned substance.
Rogers believes it was while taking part in the Tour of Beijing the previous week that he ate food contaminated with the substance, which is widely (and illegally) used in China to build muscle mass in livestock. In sport it is most widely used as a masking agent.
In a statement released today, Rogers said: "I would like to make it very clear, in the strongest terms possible that I have never knowingly or deliberately ingested clenbuterol.
"I can advise that during the period 8th-17th of October, before arriving in Japan, I was present in China for the World Tour race, Tour of Beijing.
"I understand that it has been acknowledged by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as well as other anti-doping bodies, that food contaminated with clenbuterol is a serious problem in China.
"In the following weeks I will have the opportunity to explain this unfortunate situation to the UCI, in which I will give my full attention and co-operation to resolve this issue in the quickest time frame possible."
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has previously said that sportspeople should "exercise extreme caution with regards to eating meat when travelling to competitions in China and Mexico."
Yesterday, Cycling Australia (CA) said that it would push for the maximum possible penalty if Rogers were found guilty.
“Whilst we respect Michael Rogers’s right to defend himself, we will support the maximum sanctions under the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code if he is found guilty of doping," it said.
“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.
“For too long the sport of cycling has been let down at the international level by drug cheats and CA supports every measure to detect and prosecute doping offenders.
“CA will support WADA, ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) and the applicable National Federation in whatever action they deem appropriate.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.