Tinkoff-Saxo has confirmed that Roman Kreuziger could make his 2015 race debut at the Tour of Oman despite a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing hanging over his head. Kreuziger was cleared to race by the Czech Olympic Committee in September of last year after the UCI had handed him a temporary suspension for a biological passport violation.
Kreuziger has been embroiled in a long-running case against the UCI over his blood parameters in 2011 and 2012, when he was with Astana. He was notified by the UCI in May that a case was being opened against him, but despite a near eight-month lapse, no binding decision has been reached on the matter.
The rider and the UCI are still waiting on CAS to set a date for the case to be heard, but Tinkoff Saxo general manager Stefano Feltrin believes that the hold-up is being caused by the sport’s governing body.
"Basically we don't know about the date for the hearing and that’s the real truth when it comes to because we’re left with no information," Feltrin told Cyclingnews.
"He's eligible to race and he's demanded to race because he wants to return and he wants to put pressure on the UCI. For us he can race and we have to contractually race him but we want him to race as well.
"It's unfortunate that the UCI are taking so long to file an appeal. They're using all their remedies but it's not in the best interest of the sport. At this point I have no idea when it could take place. The UCI need to file all their documents and they’re still doing this. Then CAS will set a date for the hearing."
Kreuziger returned to racing after the Czech Olympic Committee cleared him and took part in several races including Milan–Turin and Il Lombardia. So long as his doping case hangs over him Tinkoff-Saxo are reluctant to make any concrete plans for the rider’s 2015 season, but they admitted that the Tour of Oman, which takes place in February, is on a provisional plan.
Feltrin also added that the team is contractually obliged to allow Kreuziger to race and it has no legal standing to withdraw him from further events.
"To be honest we've looked a number of possibilities but it all depends on what happens with the case. The sooner we know a date the sooner we can plan around it," Feltrin said. "If possible he might start in Oman but that’s just a tentative decision. We hoped to have a date for the hearing before Christmas but now anything would be a wild guess but he’s eligible to race now. He’ll do a block of training now and then we’ll go from there."