Greg Van Avermaet, who finished third at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix last month, has been cleared of doping charges by Belgian Cycling’s disciplinary commission.
The 29-year-old stood accused of using cortisone – he admitted having done so in 2012 under prescription to treat a heel injury – and the children’s medicine Vaminolact, which he denied ever using.
He was also suspected of having links to Dr Chris Mertens, currently under investigation for providing athletes with ozone therapy.
Van Avermaet, who faced a ban of up to two years, admitted using cortisone in 2012 after receiving a prescription to treat a heel problem, but his defence proved he had never taken Vaminolact.
In a statement, Belgian Cycling said that its disciplinary commission, “responsible for doping issues, declares the rider Greg Van Avermaet not guilty of the charges laid against him and as a result says there is no reason to impose any disciplinary sanction whatsoever on hm.”
Jim Ochowicz, president and general manager of the Belgian rider’s BMC Racing Team, said the decision justified the team continuing to let Van Avermaet ride, including at last weekend’s Tour de Yorkshire.
"We never doubted Greg's innocence," he said. "We are pleased with the decision."
Van Avermaet added: "I am happy this nightmare is over. This has been a hard period for me.
“Finally, I can focus only on cycling. I want to thank my friends, family and the BMC Racing Team, who supported me."
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.