BMC rider Greg van Avermaet has been cleared of doping charges after the Belgian Cycling disciplinary committee found ‘no evidence’ of any legislation breaches.
The Classics specialist was accused of using cortisone and the children’s drug Vaminolact, as well as working with Dr Chris Mertens, who is being investigated for suspected ozone doping.
Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reports that Van Avermaet admitted to using cortisone in 2012, legally, to treat a heel problem, while he was also prescribed Vaminolact. His defence, however, proved that the rider never took the drug.
The disciplinary committee acquitted Van Avermaet after finding no infringements of the doping legislation had taken place.
“This is the victory of my spring,” Van Avermaet said afterwards. “Justice has been done. I'm no champagne drinker, but maybe we'll draw a bottle open now anyway.”
Federal Attorney Jaak Fransen had called for the rider, who finished third at both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders this year, to be banned for two years and have his results removed as far back as 2012.
But Van Avermaet has pleaded his innocence from the start, telling reporters after the news broke that he is a ‘clean and pure rider’.
"We never doubted Greg's innocence," said BMC team president Jim Ochowicz in a press release. "We are pleased with the decision."
Van Avermaet continued to race throughout the protracted ordeal, finishing seventh at the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire last weekend.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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