Rogers categorically denies ever knowingly taking Clenbuterol, is blaming Chinese food for positive
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Rogers categorically denies ever knowingly taking Clenbuterol, is blaming Chinese food for positive

by Shane Stokes at 5:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
WADA had previously told governments and event organisers they had a responsibility to ensure clean meat

Michael RogersTwo days after it was announced by the UCI that Tinkoff Saxo rider Michael Rogers had tested positive for Clenbuterol after winning the Japan Cup on October 20th, the Australian has issued a statement categorically denying ever knowingly consumed the substance.

As was suggested on Wednesday by his Tinkoff Saxo team, Rogers believes that his situation has been caused by contamination due to food consumed at the earlier Tour of Beijing.

“I would like to make it very clear, in the strongest terms possible that I have never knowingly or deliberately ingested Clenbuterol,” said Rogers today in a statement issued a short while ago, his first public pronouncement on the issue.

“I can advise that during the period 8th – 17th of October, before arriving in Japan, I was present in China for the WorldTour 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.”

WADA’s warning to athletes came in October 2011, in the wake of the Clenbuterol doping case which began over a year earlier with Alberto Contador.

“WADA has been in contact with the authorities in China and continues to monitor the situation with regards to contaminated meat. This is a government issue to solve,” WADA spokesman Terence O’Rorke told VeloNation then.

“WADA is working closely with countries, International Federations and event organizers to help minimize the risk of contamination through the monitoring of meat at official hotels and restaurants. We advise IFs and NADOs to work with the event organizers ahead of competitions and proactively inform athletes accordingly.”

He had specific advice for the riders competing in events such as the Tour of Beijing. “WADA advises all athletes who travel to China to eat in official restaurants designated by event organizers to help reduce the risks of an inadvertent AAF [adverse analytical findings – ed.],” he said. “And, if at all possible, to eat in groups.”

The UCI’s advice at the time was more straightforward. “We only recommended to the teams to be careful eating meat there,” said its then-spokesman Enrico Carpani to VeloNation in October 2011. At the time there were suggestions that some teams were instructing their riders to eat fish or chicken rather than the more risky red meat.

Carpani dismissed any suggestion that there would not be testing at the Tour of Beijing due to the possibility of an embarrassing result in relation to Clenbuterol.

“That's absurd: of course there will be tests in Beijing,” he said then. “Clenbuterol will also be detected by local lab, which will be in charge of the analyses.

WADA had said organisers and governments had a responsibility to ensure untainted meat:

WADA Director General David Howman also commented on the matter in November 2011. Interestingly, he told event organisers and government that they themselves had a responsibility to ensure that athletes didn’t have issues with Clenbuterol in food.

“We have collected sufficient evidence to demonstrate that in some countries there is a risk of eating meat that might be contaminated so we say to athletes that they should be sensible and cautious about where they eat,” said WADA Director General David Howman in a WADA statement then.

“At the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai earlier this year, and the recent Pan American Games in Mexico, the advice from WADA was to stick to places given the all clear by event organizers. The Governments were able to give assurances to athletes at those events.

“It is the responsibility of event organizers and governments to ensure the meat available to athletes is not contaminated.

“WADA continues to give the same advice. These countries have assured WADA that they are taking steps to deal with this problem and to enforce laws that are in place to prevent steroid feeding of animals, but at the moment it is vital that athletes, coaches and team managers are aware of ways to avoid any risk.

“It is also important that those sports and organizations who are staging events in these two countries obtain guarantees from the hosting body and government that the food made available to athletes is not contaminated.”

It remains to be seen if the UCI did indeed receive guarantees from the Chinese government that the food consumed by riders was known to be clear of Clenbuterol.

The UCI’s Global Cycling Promotions company has collaborated with the Chinese government to run the Tour of Beijing.

While athletes have a strict liability to ensure that they don’t consume any banned substances, even inadvertently, WADA’s statement appears to also make it the responsibility of others too.

Rogers’ defence is likely to draw on these statements. He said that he will speak to the governing body about the matter, and hoped to settle things if possible.

“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 cooperation to resolve this issue in the quickest time frame possible,” he stated, thanking fans and others who had wished him well in his defence.


Rogers’ full statement is as follows:

On the 18th of December 2013 at approximately 16.30 CET, I was informed by the UCI, the world governing body of cycling, of an Adverse Analytical Finding for Clenbuteral taken from my A sample at Japan Cup on the 20th of October 2013.

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 WorldTour 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 cooperation to resolve this issue in the quickest time frame possible.

I would personally like to thank those around the world, who have shown compassion and understanding of the situation that I’ve been placed in.

Thank you,

Michael Rogers

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