Van Avermaet cleared of doping charges

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) has been acquitted of doping charges after the disciplinary committee of the Belgian cycling federation (RLVB) found that there was 'no evidence of breaches of the doping legislation.' Van Avermaet risked a two-year ban, a fine of €265,000 and having his results since 2012 expunged.

Van Avermaet was accused of using cortisone and the children's medicine Vaminolact, after a prescription was found for the latter. The Belgian admitted to using cortisone once after he was prescribed it in 2012 to treat an ongoing heel problem. In the case of the Vaminolact, Van Avermaet was able to prove that he had not used it, according to The Belgian has always claimed his innocence.

"I was a patient with Doctor Mertens. I'm going to explain myself to the federation, why I was there. I don't have anything to blame myself for. I'm going to give my explanation and then all will be behind me. I didn't do anything wrong. I think that I'm a clean rider. Nothing has happened for which I should feel guilty. It's absurd that I always have to provide accountability," Van Avermaet said after his links to the doctor came to light ahead of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad at the end of February.

Van Avermaet continued to race amid the allegations and attended a hearing in early April, following the Amstel Gold Race. The hearing was attended by the Belgian cycling federation, who requested that he be handed a two-year ban.

Van Avermaet is one of several riders who have been faced hearings following an investigation into doctor Chris Mertens, who has been dubbed 'Doctor Ozone.' Cyclo-cross rider Tom Meeusen was also acquitted late last month but riders Pieter Van Herck and Stefan Van Dijk have been given bans as a result of the investigation.

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