Alexandr Kolobnev receives prestigious Russian honour while awaiting final decision on doping case
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Alexandr Kolobnev receives prestigious Russian honour while awaiting final decision on doping case

by VeloNation Press at 7:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Katusha rider states he feels great honour to get Order of Merit award

Alexandr KolobnevThree and a half months after a decree awarding Alexandr Kolobnev a prestigious Russian state honour, the 30 year old has been given the award in the city of Tyumen, two thousand kilometres east of Moscow. He was one of several people honoured in a ceremony presided over by the region’s head Vladimir Yakushev.

Kolobnev was given the medal for Order of Merit for the Fatherland (silver/second-class level), which is awarded to Russian citizens who are deemed to have implemented “special and useful deeds for the country.”

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree on July 22nd, on the basis of his two silver medals in the world road race championships plus his bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. Controversially, this was done eleven days after Kolobnev tested positive during the Tour de France. It led to some suggesting it is a state-sanctioned expression of support for the rider.

The diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide was found in his system which, as a specified substance, carries a possible sanction under WADA rules ranging from a warning to a two year suspension.

Responding to the award, Kolobnev told Agency Sport News Tyumen Arena that he felt honoured. “This is a very exciting moment for me,” he said. “I feel great pride in receiving the state award. I want to underline how beautiful and formal the ceremony was. I am glad I could win this medal. Hopefully there are many more awards in front of me.”

He was accompanied to the event by his trainer Victor Silin plus the Katusha rider Egor Silin, who is from Tyumen. He issued two photographs afterwards via his Twitter account.

Kolobnev has insisted that he didn’t intentionally consume a banned substance. He and the Russian cycling federation confirmed just over a week ago that he would not serve a suspension for the incident, but would instead be given a warning and a fine of 1,500 Swiss francs. UCI press officer Enrico Carpani told VeloNation last week that the governing body had fifteen days to opt to request the file on the case from the Russian federation. Once it was received, it would then have a month to decide what to do.

“At this point in time it is impossible to say what will happen; when we have the information, we will study it carefully and then make a decision,” he said.

In the meantime, the rider is in theory free to compete and is being celebrated with one of Russia’s highest civilian honours.


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