Viatcheslav Ekimov has said that Katusha’s top rider Joaquim Rodriguez cannot leave the team until CAS resolves the situation, and that the Russian squad will do their utmost to “convince Purito he should remain with the squad.”
The former Russian pro told Cyclingnews that Rodríguez “cannot leave until CAS make a decision, because his contract clearly states he may only do that if we don’t have a licence. It looks like the [UCI] licence commission’s word is not the final word. So in this period he cannot leave.”
“We try to do our best to convince Purito not to leave and we’re just waiting for the CAS decision.”
Ekimov described their exclusion from the WorldTour “as a big blow for the team, that’s definitely true. I don’t know what the real purpose is, but it’s definitely not the points mentioned in the [published UCI commission] decision.”
“We are not struggling, we’re doing well, we’re getting in contact with the race organisers and these things go well. We didn’t pull out the Giro wildcard, but we still have other RCS races” - Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan - San Remo and Il Lombardia - “and we appreciate those invitations. So whatever problems we face, we’re going to take things calmly.”
“I read the same news that you guys are reading and I talk to Purito and he said, ‘yes I’m going to wait.’”
Rodríguez himself told reporters at the Vuelta a España presentation that he is simply “waiting for CAS to issue its verdict on the case. I will respect my contract with Katusha.” However, when asked if he will race the Tour de France, for which Katusha will be currently be dependent on a wildcard invitation, Rodríguez answered with an emphatic “yes.”
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