Russia's Aigul Gareeva, a former junior women's time trial world champion, has been provisionally suspended after missing three anti-doping whereabouts tests in the last 12 months, according to a report in Insidethegames.com.
Irakli Abrahamyan, Russian national cycling team coach, reportedly told Russia’s official state news agency TASS that Gareeva's provisional suspension was due to her failure to attend anti-doping tests.
"Aigula was suspended for three flags, she missed three doping tests during the year," said Abrahamyan, according to the Insidethegames.com report published last Wednesday.
"She was not found to have [been] doping, Gareeva was suspended for another violation which was the result of her carelessness, one might say so. [Her case] will be heard soon. After which a decision on her punishment will be made. I hope that Aigul will be disqualified for a minimum period. We constantly remind athletes to be responsible in providing information about their location but we cannot do it every day or fill out everything for them.
"We don't forget about her, she trains. Unfortunately, for the period of her suspension, Gareeva is deprived of the right to compete."
Gareeva, 22, was the winner of the junior women's road race at the 2018 European Championships. She turned heads with a winning performance in the junior women's time trial at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire, where she also secured fourth place in the junior women's road race.
She went on to sign a contract with the UCI Continental women's team Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling Team, a team she raced with in 2020 and 2021. However, Gareeva has not competed since she finished with two fourth places in the road race and time trial at the Russian Championships held in June last year.
According to TASS, Gaveera has been provisionally suspended since September 17, 2021. However, she is not on the UCI's list of riders who are provisionally suspended, which was last updated on Dec 23, 2021.
Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling Team has since acquired a top-tier Women's WorldTeam licence beginning in 2022, however, Gaveera is no longer a part of its roster and not under contract with another programme this year.
Cyclingnews reached out to the team's management to ask if they were aware of Gaveera's missed whereabouts test last year. A representative of the team told Cycingnews that Gareeva's provisional suspension came as a surprise and that they were not aware of her three missed whereabouts tests.
The UCI's Management Committee shifted its anti-doping activities away from the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation to the International Testing Agency (ITA) in 2021, a multi-sport independent group established in 2018. The ITA states that riders are responsible for providing accurate and up-to-date whereabouts information.
"Riders are required to provide complete and accurate whereabouts information for each day of the quarter to enable any Anti-Doping Organisation (ADO) to locate the rider for testing, including but not limited to the 60-minute time slot period."
ITA states that three missed anti-doping whereabouts tests will result in a suspension of between 12 and 24 months.
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