By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - Australian Michael Rogers blamed food contamination after he was been provisionally suspended on Wednesday after failing a positive test for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol.
"The UCI advised Australian rider Michael Rogers that he is provisionally suspended," the International Cycling Union (UCI) said in a statement.
"The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Tokyo indicating an adverse analytical finding of clenbuterol in a urine sample collected from him in a test during the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race on 20 October 2013."
The 33-year-old Rogers denied any wrongdoing, according to his Saxo-Tinkoff team.
"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," the team said in a statement.
"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."
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.
The Spaniard argued he ate contaminated food but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) eventually found him guilty.
Rogers, a three-times time trial world champion who also helped Briton Bradley Wiggins win the 2012 Tour de France, was the second rider to fail a clenbuterol test this autumn.
The UCI also announced on Wednesday that Belgian rider Jonathan Breyne had tested positive for the substance on the Tour of Taihu Lake in China two weeks earlier.
Rogers, who could face a two-year ban if found guilty, also rode in China prior to his positive test when he rode the Tour of Beijing in October.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)