Michael Rogers has been named in the Tinkoff-Saxo team for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, his first race since the UCI announced on Wednesday that he would not face suspension for testing positive for clenbuterol at the Japan Cup last October.
Although Rogers has been stripped of his victory in that race, the UCI accepted his defence that clenbuterol had entered his system by consuming contaminated meat while competing at the Tour of Beijing – run by the UCI’s race organisation wing, Global Cycling Promotion – prior to racing in Japan.
The UCI's decision was taken after consultation with WADA and the governing body announced the news during Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. Shortly afterwards, Tinkoff-Saxo issued a statement confirming that Rogers would return to the team’s line-up in the near future.
“We are especially pleased that he can now get back to racing,” the team said. “We will be sitting down with Michael to agree his race calendar and we look forward to seeing him at his best.”
Rogers lines up for Liège-Bastogne-Liège in a Tinkoff-Saxo team led by last year’s Amstel Gold Race winner Roman Kreuziger. The Czech finished in 8th place at Flèche Wallonne and will expect to be even more competitive in La Doyenne.
Ultimately, Tinkoff-Saxo will hope that Rogers can race his way into sufficient condition to play an important supporting role for Alberto Contador at the Tour de France.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, fellow Australian Robbie McEwen said that Rogers’ late start to the season might not necessarily be a hindrance. “Maybe there's a silver lining to the cloud, that it's given him the chance to build a big base and maybe work on little things, and it could end up being his best season ever,'' he said.
Tinkoff-Saxo team for Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Roman Kreuziger, Michael Rogers, Chris Anker Sørensen, Karsten Kroon, Rory Sutherland, Bruno Pires, Edward Beltran and Michael Valgren.