Belgian sprinter sanctioned but not suspended
The drama surrounding Gert Steegmans and Katusha's anti-doping clause continues with the team's manager deeming his continuing stance worthy of sanction, with the Belgian rider now listed as 'non-active'. Team management stressed that he is not suspended, however.
Sporza reports that Andrei Tchmil has stated Steegmans may no longer compete for Katusha if the saga continues and he has been left off the roster for today's Halle-Ingooigem one-day race.
Having refused to sign the controversial anti-doping clause in his contract, which makes provision for the rider to pay up to five times his annual salary if he tests positive for banned substances, Katusha made threats not to select Steegmans for the Tour de France if he continued to remain 'defiant'. It seems his stance has proven costly.
Katusha directeur sportif Jef Braeckevelt said the team was ordered to keep Steegmans. "It's a bad move by him if it's only our team he wouldn't sign the anti-doping charter for," said Braeckevelt.
"The Katusha management has noted his attitude [in the matter] but he hasn't been suspended. We need him."