UCI President Brian Cookson has told Cyclingnews that a decision on the suspension of the Katusha team from competition following two doping cases is due later today.
On Friday the UCI announced that Eduard Vorganov tested positive for the anti-ischemic drug Meldonium in an out-of-competition test on January 14, 2016. The positive is the second in 12 months for Katusha after Italian Luca Paolini tested positive for cocaine at the Tour de France last year.
Under UCI rules, a team suspension can be imposed when the riders and team involved are first notified of the adverse analytical finding and not when a rule violation is confirmed and riders suspended. The team can request a lifting of the suspension if they feel are not responsible in any way for one of the doping cases.
The Katusha team faces a possible 15-45 day suspension from competition, depending on the decision of the UCI Disciplinary Commission. A ban of between 15-20 days could see them miss several early-season stage races, including the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne one-day races in Belgium. A longer ban could stop them riding Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico.
The formal decision is expected very soon. However, Cookson told Cyclingnews any suspension would not affect the Katusha team’s continued participation in the Tour of Qatar this week.
“There will be an announcement in the next few hours. I want to emphasis that this is not in any sense a personal decision of the president, that this is an independent decision of the disciplinary commission,” Cookson told Cyclingnews.
“This is why we have a disciplinary commission. We’ll wait to see the outcome. It won’t be a problem for this race.”
Cyclingnews will have more details on the story when the UCI announces the decision of the Disciplinary Commission.