Giro hopeful Pfannberger suspended by Katusha

(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)

Team Katusha suspended its rider Christian Pfannberger on Wednesday after learning the results of a recent doping test. Pfannberger was tested during an out of competition doping control at his home on March 19.

The team received notification of a non-negative doping test result this morning. "Pending an official response form the UCI, the team has decided to indefinitely suspend the athlete," read a statement from the team, which is awaiting confirmation of a positive result before deciding on any further actions.

The name of the substance causing the non-negative result has not been announced.

Pfannberger's suspension means he will not be able to ride the Giro d'Italia. The 29-year-old reigning Austrian national champion was scheduled to compete in the Italian Grand Tour along with Pavel Brutt, Nikita Eskov, Mikhail Ignatiev, Sergey Klimov, Luca Mazzanti, Evgeni Petrov, Filippo Pozzato and Ben Swift.

The team has announced on its website that Alexander Serov will replace Pfannberger on the Giro roster due to a "personal problem" of Pfannberger.

Pfannberger has previously served a doping-related suspension. While riding for the Czech Team Ed'Sysems ZVVZ, he was found to have used EPO and suspended from June 27, 2004, to June 26, 2006.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.