Sydney - Australian cyclist Michael Rogers has welcomed the lifting of a doping ban for a banned stimulant, saying it has ended a very difficult time for him.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) on Wednesday lifted its doping ban on Rogers, who last year tested positive for clenbuterol in a urine sample at the Japan Cup.
The UCI accepted the 34-year-old's claim that he had not taken the substance intentionally.
Rogers said he had always been adamant that the positive reading was due to the consumption of contaminated meat during his stay in China for the Tour of Beijing ahead of the Japan Cup.
"I have received the extremely pleasing news that the UCI has decided that no period of ineligibility is to be imposed against me following my inadvertent adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol in October 2013," Rogers said in a statement issued on social media late Wednesday.
"As a consequence, my provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect.
"The UCI acknowledged that the presence of clenbuterol in my sample collected during the 2013 Japan Cup was due -- as I always stated -- to the consumption of contaminated meat during my stay in China for the Tour of Beijing.
"The UCI, in particular, confirmed the absence of any fault or negligence on my part."
Rogers said he and his family had endured a "very difficult time" over the past four months.
"The UCI's decision means I can return to racing immediately, and I am looking forward to getting back to work, competing in the sport I love," he said in the statement.
Cycling Australia chief executive Adrian Anderson said he looked forward to Rogers's return to competition after the UCI, in consultation with the World Anti-Doping Agency, decided Rogers should not be sanctioned beyond automatic disqualification for the Japan Cup.
"CA is pleased that Michael has been given the chance to prove his innocence via the UCI appeal process," Anderson said in a statement.
"We support the findings of WADA and the UCI regarding sanctioning and look forward to seeing him now return to competition."
Rogers was one of double Tour de France winner Alberto Contador's main lieutenants at last year's Grand Boucle.
He is a three-time track world champion and finished second to Bradley Wiggins at the prestigious 2012 Criterium du Dauphine.
Rogers is not the first athlete to be caught out by meat contaminated with clenbuterol in China.
Beijing Olympic heavyweight judo champion Tong Wen tested positive for the stimulant in 2010 and was initially banned for two years and stripped of her 2009 world title.
However, she contested the ban, took her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and successfully had her suspension overturned, allowing her to win another world title in 2011 and take bronze at the London Olympics the following year.
The UCI was keen to stress, though, that eating contaminated meat would not always be accepted as an excuse for taking clenbuterol.