Using the Contador defense, an Australian cyclist who tested positive for clenbuterol has had a potential ban from the sport lifted after the sport’s governing body said he probably consumed the substance accidentally during a race in China.
Michael Rogers, an Olympic bronze medalist, was stripped of his victory at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race in October 2013 after a positive test for clenbuterol. The drug, which increases the rate of fat burning and helps build muscle, is illicitly used by farmers in China and other countries on pigs and cattle to produce leaner meat.
The International Cycling Union, known by its French initials U.C.I., said Wednesday that Rogers’s disqualification in that race would stand but that any further sanctions would be dropped as “there was a significant probability that the presence of clenbuterol may have resulted from the consumption of contaminated meat from China.”
Clenbuterol has been a recurring problem in China. In 2006, more than 300 people in Shanghai fell ill from eating meat heavily tainted with the substance, which is also known in Chinese as “shou rou jing,” or “lean meat powder.” Three years later, 70 people in the southern city of Guangzhou were sickened after eating pork organs tainted with the drug.