Tom Palmer says he won't eat meat while travelling to avoid any clenbuterol issues. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Rising Canberra cyclist Tom Palmer says the thought of eating contaminated meat in China is "terrifying", revealing he turns vegan when travelling to avoid a clenbuterol debacle similar to Michael Rogers' situation.
Rogers is targeting a spot at the Tour de France after the UCI lifted his provisional suspension for testing positive to the banned substance clenbuterol.
It was deemed that Canberra's Rogers inadvertently ingested the clenbuterol in contaminated meat in China last October.
Palmer races with Drapac Professional Cycling team across Asia and tweeted on Wednesday night: "Meat doping. It's real. I'm going vegan."
The 23-year-old revealed he travels with canned tuna and powder protein when in Asia and has refused to eat meat in China for the past three years.
"It's scary as a rider. It's terrifying and beyond concerning to think I could do everything right and not be tempted into taking drugs and still be inadvertently banned from the sport for doing nothing wrong," Palmer said.
"You have to be strict on where you do and do not eat meat. It's harsh. It's good that Mick has been cleared, but the loss to his reputation and career is really serious. It's not something I would want to go through.
"With Mick's case and a few others ... it has got to the point where most riders who race in China, they don't eat the meat there. I am vegan when I'm in China."
Drapac Professional Cycling enforced a team policy this year to avoid meat in China. Palmer stopped eating meat there after suffering from food poisoning in previous years.
Spain's Alberto Contador was stripped of his Tour de France title after he tested positive to clenbuterol in 2010.
Contador also claimed he was a victim of contaminated meat, but he was suspended for two years.
Rogers provided a positive A-sample at the Japan Cup in 2013, and the UCI has since disqualified his results from that event.
But the UCI ruled there was significant probability Rogers had inadvertently ingested the banned substance.
Rogers, an Olympian and three-time world time-trial champion, trained through his provisional ban and wants to rejoin the professional circuit.
Palmer said Rogers' case highlighted how careful cyclists need to be.
"The riders know there are risks and in varying degrees, some guys are more paranoid than others," Palmer said.
"We take as much tinned tuna as we can, but it's pretty difficult. You have to be vigilant.
"In the last six months it has become more prominent. The quality of the food in the regional areas isn't great, so in those races food poisoning is a risk as well.
"You tend to take a lot of your own special nutrition stuff anyway."
Rogers, 34 and a nine-time Tour de France starter, with a personal best overall finish of ninth in 2006, maintained his innocence after his initial positive test.
“Further, I wish to show my gratitude to the board of Tinkoff-Saxo for the professional manner with which this ambiguous ordeal has been handled," Rogers said.
"Thank you for having the perception of what is right, rather than following the path of least resistance."
Palmer will be based in Canberra for the next month before starting his season in Philadelphia on June 1.
Fellow Canberra rider Adam Phelan, 22, is also on the Drapac Professional Cycling team and will start his season in Turkey this weekend.