PARIS (Reuters) - Australian rider Michael Rogers has blamed a positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol on food contamination, saying on Friday he never intentionally ingested the banned anabolic agent.
"I would like to make it very clear, in the strongest terms possible that I have never knowingly or deliberately ingested clenbuterol," the Saxo-Tinkoff rider, who failed the test at the Japan Cup on Oct 20, said in a statement.
"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."
Rogers, a three-times time trial world champion, was Saxo-Tinkoff's road captain in this year's Tour de France, which he finished in 16th place overall.
"In the following weeks I will have the opportunity to explain this unfortunate situation to the UCI (International Cycling Union), in which I will give my full attention and co-operation to resolve this issue in the quickest time frame possible," Rogers added.
His team mate Alberto Contador was handed a two-year ban following a positive test for clenbuterol on the 2010 Tour de France despite arguing he was victim of food contamination.
Two years ago, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) warned athletes that they should "exercise extreme caution with regards to eating meat when travelling to competitions in China and Mexico."
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)