The UCI has announced that Kanstantsin Siutsou has been given a four-year ban after testing positive for banned blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO).
The UCI revealed in September 2018 that Siutsou's test was "planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation". After a drawn-out trial via the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal, Siutsou was given a four-year period of ineligibility. The ban will end on September 4, 2022.
The 36-year-old Italian-based Belarusian rode for Bahrain-Merida in 2018 and was a key Grand Tour domestique for Vincenzo Nibali. He rode for Dimension Data in 2017 and Team Sky between 2012 and 2015.
Siutsou was selected for the Bahrain-Merida Giro d’Italia squad in 2018 but fractured a vertebra in his neck while training on the course of the opening time trial in Jerusalem.
The Bahrain-Merida team issued a brief statement in September 2018, revealing that Siutsou had been told in June that his contract would not be renewed. He officially retired at the end of 2018.
EPO was widely used and abused in the 1990s until a urine anti-doping test was introduced in 2001 and the UCI created the biological passport in 2008. However, experts have long believed that micro-doses of EPO and other drugs can give performance benefits without triggering a biological passport violation.
The UCI has said it will publish full details of its judgement on the UCI website.
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