Roman Kreuziger scored his first win since the 2013 Amstel Gold Race when he took the stage 6 victory Saturday at the USA Pro Challenge. The result was a symbolic return to form for the rider who for a year fought a biological passport anti-doping case brought against him by WADA and the UCI.
Kreuziger outsprinted his five breakaway companions in downtown Fort Collins after a disappointing week for his Tinkoff-Saxo squad.
"Before we came here we had a plan, but it can be difficult after doing the Ardennes Classics, the Giro and the Tour to still perform well," he said in the post-race press conference. "We set the GC after two stages, and during stage 2 Rohan [Dennis] set a really hard tempo and I understood it was not the time to do the GC, and so it was the moment to focus on the stages."
News of the Kreuziger anti-doping case first broke in June of last year when Tinkoff-Saxo withheld him from their Tour de France line-up after fluctuations were flagged in his biological passport between March 2011 and August 2011, and from April 2012 through the end of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, when he raced for Astana.
In August of 2014, the UCI handed Kreuziger a provisional suspension – equivalent to the sanction for an A-sample positive doping control – and UCI president Brian Cookson later told Cyclingnews that there were "very serious anomalies" in the Czech rider's passport readings.
In September of 2014, however, the Czech Olympic Committee cleared Kreuziger of wrongdoing, and he returned to racing before the end of the season. The UCI and WADA subsequently announced their intention to appeal the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and a hearing was fixed for June 2015 – only for cycling's governing body to withdraw its appeal one week before the hearing date.
Kreuziger, who was fifth this year at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, has done 67 race days so far this year, finishing 17th in the Tour de France while supporting Alberto Contador's unsuccessful bid to pull off the Giro-Tour double win.
"It's really important for me to start here, and for the morale ahead of the Canadian races it's really important this victory," he said. "Every victory is nice and it's important. We have many GC riders in the team and also Peter [Sagan], but we don't win so many races, so every victory is important.
"With our boss, [winning] is everything important, and not just for our team, but I think for every rider you don't win every day, so it's really nice to win."
Asked if he would be competing at the World Championships next month in Richmond, Virginia, Kreuziger said his participation had not yet been decided.
"Normally yes, but I would expect to do the [WorldTour] races in Canada and then after I will decide,” he said. “The season has been very long, and I don't know yet."