Roman Kreuziger has been cleared of any anti-doping violations by the Czech Olympic Committee (CAC). Kreuziger had been provisionally suspended by the UCI after registering anomalies in his blood passport earlier this season.
"The Commission took into account the fact that the values of the Athlete Biological Passport do not exceed the so-called basal (extreme) values, taking into account expert opinions submitted by the International Cycling Federation and the athlete in question, who explained the abnormality," the CAC said in a statement released today.
"In view of the fact that the conclusions of expert reports submitted by the athlete, and by the International Cycling Federation regarding the alleged abnormalities in the athlete biological passport, which contradicted the athlete and provided the Commission with an explanation of the alleged abnormalities, the Commission concludes that in the case, Roman Kreuziger is not in violation of anti-doping regulations."
The values in question come from 2011 and 2012, when Kreuziger was riding with Astana. The Czech rider was notified by the UCI in May, who requested that he provide an explanation for the anomalies. However, Kreuziger was allowed to continue racing and the story only came to light in June when he announced it on his personal website.
While Kreuziger was never suspended by his team, they decided to pull him from the Tour de France squad to avoid the inevitable media attention that his participation would attract. He was set to make a return to racing at the Tour de Pologne when the UCI made the rare move and provisionally suspended Kreuziger while they awaited the official decision. He appealed to CAS, but the decision was upheld and he was forced to miss the Vuelta a España.
Neither Tinkoff-Saxo nor Kreuziger has made any public statements on the decision, but a press conference is set for later this afternoon.
In August, UCI president Brian Cookson said that biological passport cases would be treated as positive tests. "There are very serious anomalies," Cookson told Cyclingnews ahead of the closing ceremony for the Commonwealth Games.
"The UCI and CADF experts have a very strong indication of manipulation. He has been invited to submit explanations. They've been submitted and they're not found to be convincing and we are now in a situation where we would have had to take disciplinary action very soon and we've done that as quickly as we could."
The UCI released this statement on Monday afternoon, but refused to comment on whether it would appeal the decision. "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms receipt of the Arbitration Committee of the Czech Olympic Committee’s decision on the Roman Kreuziger case.
"The UCI takes note of the decision to acquit the rider and will consider the possibility of appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, as provided under the UCI Anti-Doping Rules. At this stage, with the relevant appeal windows opened, the UCI will not make any further comment on the case."
If the UCI or WADA choose to appeal the decision, they have one month to do so.
Kreuziger's case timeline:
2011-2012: Kreuziger registers anomalous values on his biological passport, between March 2011 and August 2011, and April 2012 to the end of the 2012 Giro d’Italia.
May 30, 2014: Kreuziger notified by the UCI and asked to provide explanation. He has 10 days to provide his evidence, but is given a small extension after submitting a request.
June 9, 2014: Initial deadline passes
June 14-22, 2014: Kreuziger competes in the Tour de Suisse and finishes eighth in the general classification
June 28, 2014: A statement is released on Kreuziger’s personal website stating that he was under investigation by the UCI. He is pulled from Tour de France squad.
June 30, 2014: New deadline for evidence passes
July 30, 2014: Tinkoff-Saxo announces that Kreuziger will ride the Tour de Pologne in August.
August 2, 2014: A day before the Tour de Pologne is set to begin, the UCI announce that they have provisionally suspended Kreuziger.
August 5, 2014: Kreuziger submits appeal to the CAS against the UCI decision, in the hope that he will be able to ride the Vuelta a España.
August 20, 2014: CAS upholds the UCI’s decision and Kreuziger must miss the Vuelta.
September 22, 2014: The Czech Olympic Committee clears Kreuziger of any anti-doping violations.
October 22, 2014: Deadline for appeal