Johannesburg - The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) has accepted a decision by the Independent Anti-Doping Tribunal to clear South African cyclist Daryl Impey of any doping violation charges, the institute said on Friday.
Saids CEO Khalid Galant said Impey's lawyers had submitted a defence of "no fault or negligence" on the basis that Impey had unknowingly come into contact with trace amounts of a prohibited substance following the collection of empty gelatin capsules from a pharmacy in Durban.
"Impey presented expert evidence from pharmacy professionals, pharmacologists, and pharmacokinetic experts confirming that cross-contamination caused by the use of the pill-counter in such [a] manner was plausible," Galant said in a statement.
"Saids is satisfied with the Independent Anti-Doping Tribunal’s finding that Daryl Impey was not at fault for the doping violation on the facts of this particular case and that he should not face any further consequences."
The 29-year old, who made history last year as the first ever African to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, tested positive in February for the prescription diuretic Probenecid, which can be used as a masking agent.
Galant said it was the duty of Saids to vigorously pursue all anti-doping rule violations within its jurisdiction.
"We did so and checked the veracity of Impey's account to the fullest extent possible. We sought opinions from our own experts, which confirmed that cross-contamination was indeed possible in the manner proposed by Impey’s experts," he said.
"We would like to take this opportunity to remind all athletes that, due to the principle of strict liability, athletes must exercise extreme caution at all times with regards to any food and/or medical products they may come into contact with."
Impey took to social media on Friday to express his joy, particularly after team Orica-GreenEdge had removed him from their Tour de France line-up this year.
"This is the best news to give to all my family, friends, team and fans," the cyclist tweeted on Friday.
"While I never disputed the lab results and the finding, I was put in a very tough position of defending my case due to strict liability," Impey said on his website www.darylimpey.com.
"That being said, and after already having to go back five months to try to find out how this could have happened, I finally was able to prove that this was a case of cross-contamination and I was also cleared of any fault or negligence on my part."
He said it had been the hardest few months of his life and had caused him a huge financial loss.
"It has been tough on my whole family. But I was determined to show that I am clean and that I would never cheat to try get an advantage over my competitors. I am so relieved that this has now been proven."