Australian cyclist Michael Rogers hopes to return to racing as soon as possible after the world body ruled that he would not be "sanctioned any further" for his positive reading of the drug clenbuterol in the end of season Japan Cup that he won last year.
The three-time world time-trial champion welcomed the decision by the Union Cycliste Internationale, even though it ruled that his victory in the Japan Cup on October 20 be would stricken from the record.
After his positive test, Rogers, 34, an Olympian and nine-time Tour de France starter with a personal best overall finish of ninth in 2006, was provisionally suspended, but maintained his innocence.
On Wednesday, the UCI said in a statement that it had accepted the Tinkoff-Saxo rider’s explanation that his positive was due to contaminated meat he had eaten when he was in China where he raced in the Tour of Beijing.
“Upon careful analysis of Mr Rogers’ explanations and the accompanying technical reports, the UCI found that that there was a significant probability that the presence of clenbuterol may have resulted from the consumption of contaminated meat from China – where he had taken part in a race before travelling to Japan.
“As a result, the UCI has proceeded with the automatic disqualification of Mr Rogers’ results at the 2013 Japan Cup Cycle Road Race [the competition during which the positive sample was taken] but, after consulting WADA, decided that he should not be sanctioned any further.
“The UCI is monitoring very carefully the latest developments concerning clenbuterol, and will continue to take appropriate steps to ensure riders are properly informed."
Rogers said in a statement on Twitter: “Today, I received the extremely pleasing news that the UCI has decided that no period of ineligibility is to be imposed against me following my inadvertent adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol in October 2013.
“As a consequence, my provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect.
“The UCI acknowledged that the presence of Clenbuterol in my sample collected during the 2013 Japan Cup was due – as I always stated – to the consumption of contaminated meat during my stay in China for the Tour of Beijing.
“The UCI, in particular, confirmed the absence of any fault or negligence on my part.
“Notwithstanding the above, and because the substance was found in my sample during the competition, my result obtained during the 2013 Japan Cup must be automatically disqualified in accordance with the UCI rules.
“Although this is unfortunate for me, the UCI is bound by its rules and must apply them consistently.
“Over the past four months, my family and I have endured a very difficult time.
“The UCI’s decision means I can return to racing immediately, and I am looking forward to getting back to work, competing in the sport I love.
“I wish to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, teammates, colleagues, medical experts and fans who have showed continued support and understanding.
“Further, I wish to show my gratitude to the board of Tinkoff-Saxo for the professional manner with which this ambiguous ordeal has been handled.
"Thank you for having the perception of what is right, rather than following the path of least resistance."
Cycling Australia chief executive officer Adrian Anderson responded to news of the UCI's ruling in a statement, saying "CA is pleased that Michael has been given the chance to prove his innocence via the UCI appeal process.
"We support the findings of WADA and the UCI regarding sanctioning and look forward to seeing him now return to competition."
The story Banned Australian cyclist Michael Rogers cleared to ride again first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.