Alexandr Kolobnev has decided to take an extended break from cycling and is unsure if and when he'll return.
The Russian rider last raced at the Vuelta al País Vasco, where he crashed and suffered a fracture in his foot. He saw out the final three stages but it became apparent that the injury was more serious than first feared.
The Katusha team has told Biciciclismo that Kolobnev has decided to "stop for a while" and they have accepted his decision. The purpose is to recover from his injuries but also to focus on his studies. Kolobnev holds a diploma in sports management, and retirement from professional cycling may be on the cards for the 34-year-old.
He's not rushing to any decisions, though, and will only give serious consideration to his next move once he has made a full recovery.
"We can't rule out any possibility," he said in an interview with R-Sport, a branch of Russian news agency RIA Novosti, in May. "It will depend on how I am when I start training again, then I will make a decision. In the meantime I will not force the situation.
"At the time the crash [at País Vasco] didn't seem that serious. I was able to finish the stage and then ride three more, but going by the results of the latest examination, and the evolution, the injury was serious."
Kolobnev is a two-time world road race championships silver medallist and a two-time Russian national road race champion.
He tested positive at the 2011 Tour de France for the masking agent hydrochlorothiazide but was acquitted of systematic doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which found it was the result of medication used for a vascular disease that he had suffered from for many years.
He was dropped by Katusha at the end of 2011 but rejoined following his acquittal. In that same turbulent year, allegations surfaced that he had sold victory in the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège to Alexandre Vinokourov.
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