MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Cycling Australia (CA) will seek maximum punishment for Michael Rogers if the rider is found guilty of doping, the governing body of the sport in the country said on Thursday.
Rogers, 33, was provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Wednesday after testing positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol.
The three-time world time trial champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medallist denied any wrongdoing and blamed food contamination for the failed test.
“While we respect Michael Rogers’ right to defend himself, we will support the maximum sanctions applicable in the event that he is found guilty of doping,” CA interim chief executive Adrian Anderson told reporters.
”The fact that the drug testing process internationally continues to result in positive tests should be a message to all cyclists that if they dope they will be caught.
“For too long this great sport of cycling has been let down by drug cheats and Cycling Australia supports every measure to protect the integrity of cycling and to detect and prosecute any doping offences.”
At this year’s Tour de France, Japan Cup winner Rogers was a road captain in the Saxo-Tinkoff team of Alberto Contador, who was banned for two years after a failed test for clenbuterol on the 2010 edition of the world’s greatest cycling race.
Rogers, who also rode the Tour of Beijing in October, could face a two-year ban if found guilty.
Reporting by Stuart McDill; Writing by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by John O'Brien