The Katusha team does not risk suspension by the UCI after the announcement that Giampaolo Caruso had tested positive for EPO. It is the second positive for Katusha after Luca Paolini tested positive for cocaine during the first week of the Tour de France. The B sample is yet to be tested in both cases, although the team has provisionally suspended each rider.
Regulations were brought in at the start of this season which mean that a team could be suspended by the UCI if it had two anti-doping violations in the space of 12 months. However, the UCI have confirmed to Cyclingnews that as Caruso’s sample came from 2012, they cannot retroactively apply a regulation that was only introduced this year.
"This is based on the non-retroactivity of law principle, which is enshrined in the World Anti-Doping Code (25.2). According to the Code an Anti-doping Rule Violation (ADRV) which occurred prior to 01.01.2015 shall be governed by the substantive Anti-Doping Rule (ADR) in effect at the time the alleged ADRV occurred. The 2012 ADR did not of course provide for the Team Suspension," the UCI said in a statement to Cyclingnews.
Katusha are also members of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC), which has a similar regulation that automatically suspends the team from their next race. With the B samples still to be confirmed, Katusha are free to race at the up and coming Vuelta a España. According to a report on the Norwegian website Procycling.no, the MPCC will not require Katusha to miss any racing as the sample was taken before they joined the MPCC and, like the UCI, the deem it to have occurred outside of the 12-month timeframe.
"It has no consequences as of now, but this may be something we take up at our next board meeting in September," MPCC president Roger Legeay told Procycling.no. "We try to look ahead and focus on the present. It happened back in time, is something that the UCI, anti-doping organization and the arbitration tribunal will have to look at. I think Team Katusha joined with us in the beginning of 2013."
He added: “They have followed the rules since becoming part of the organization, and we try to influence them to do what is best for the sport in the future.”
Cyclingnews contacted Katusha, who said that they are treating Paolini and Caruso's positive tests as two distinct cases and have received no contact from the UCI that any action will be taken against the team. They are also waiting confirmation of when the B samples for both riders will be tested.
A decision on who will replace Caruso in the Vuelta a España line-up will be made on Wednesday.