Tinkoff Saxo says that Rogers insists on innocence, says food likely source of Clenbuterol positive
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tinkoff Saxo says that Rogers insists on innocence, says food likely source of Clenbuterol positive

by Shane Stokes at 1:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Australian rider provisionally suspended by team

Saxo TinkoffCommenting shortly after the UCI announced that Michael Rogers has tested positive for Clenbuterol, the Australian’s Tinkoff Saxo squad has announced that the rider has protested his innocence but has been provisionally suspended pending the outcome of the case.

Rogers’ positive test came after he won this year’s Japan Cup. Prior to racing there, he competed in the UCI’s Tour of Beijing in China, a country where WADA previously stated there was the possibility of Clenbuterol contamination from food.

Unsurprisingly, Rogers looks set to attribute this as the source of the substance.

“The Australian explained to the team management that he never ingested the substance knowingly nor deliberately and fears that the adverse analytical finding origins from a contaminated food source,” said his team in a statement.

“Michael Rogers participated in Tour of Beijing the week before the Japan Cup and travelled directly from China to Japan.

“Michael Rogers now has the opportunity to request an analysis of his B-sample. According to the team's Anti Doping policy, Michael Rogers is provisionally suspended with immediate effect.”

It added that Rogers received notification of his positive A sample today, and immediately notified the team.

Rogers moved to Tinkoff Saxo – or, Saxo Tinkoff as it was known until recently - after two years with Team Sky.

He had a quieter season than 2012, when he won Bayern Rundfarht, finished second overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné, third in the Critérium International. His results this season include second overall in the Tour of California and sixth in the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Japan Cup was his sole win.

Rogers faces a battle to prove that the origin of the Clenbuterol was from food. His team-mate Alberto Contador was in a similar situation after he failed a test in 2010, and unsuccessfully sought to show the Court of Arbitration for Sport that contaminated beef was the source. It ultimately ruled that it was possible he had consumed a contaminated supplement, but gave him a lengthy ban anyway.

However the fact that Rogers was competing in a UCI-organised race run in a country with known contamination of some food adds an extra element to his case.

WADA and the governing body have previously advised athletes to be aware of the possibility that food could be tainted with the chemical.

Irish road race champion Matt Brammeier stated on Twitter today that a large number of riders disregarded those warnings about the possible contamination of meat and ate it anyway during the Tour of Beijing event.

The UCI also announced today that the Crelan-Euphony rider Jonathan Breyne had also returned a positive A-sample for Clenbuterol, with that test having been carried out at the Tour of Taihu Lake in China on November 5th.

It remains to be seen if any more Clenbuterol cases emerge in connection with Chinese events. In the meantime, Rogers will work on his defence and hope that he can avoid a possible two year ban.

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