Kolobnev to resume professional career with Katusha team
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kolobnev to resume professional career with Katusha team

by Shane Stokes at 8:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Rider had been fired after testing positive in Tour de France, then cleared by CAS

Alexandr KolobnevPreviously released by the team after testing positive during the 2011 Tour de France, former world championship runner-up Alexandr Kolobnev is returning to Katusha this season.

The Russian squad denied a signing was possible last week, telling VeloNation that its roster was full, but some accommodation has been worked out and the Classic specialist will line out once again in the red and white jersey of the squad.

“I am very happy to receive a proposal to become a part of Katusha Team. I had a very hard period of time in my life, but I passed it already, it’s behind me,” he said. “I thank the Russian Cycling Federation and its President Igor Makarov for the big support which was provided to me. With the help of Mr. Makarov I can ride for Katusha again.”

On July 11th Kolobnev was announced as having tested positive for the banned substance hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic. The UCI has requested that his squad withdraw him from the Tour de France, and it duly did so.

However on October 27th the rider confirmed that the Russian federation would not suspend him for the positive test. He said that the federation’s anti-doping commission had concluded that he did commit a violation under UCI anti-doping rules 21.1, namely the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in a rider's bodily specimen, but that he would be given a fine of 1500 Swiss Francs rather than being forced to take time off the bike.

The UCI appealed this, seeking a two year ban and a fine of €350,000, but on February 29th CAS announced that it had upheld the Russian federation’s decision.

It accepted Kolobnev’s explanation that he has been suffering from varix dilatation, a chronic vascular disease, for the past 15 years, and that his personal doctor recommended that he use products such as ‘Kalipar’, or ‘Natural Kapillyaroprtector’, which can be bought without prescription in Russia.

Tests on this product showed that it contained the banned substance. The CAS panel found that Kolobnev was using the product for medical reasons and not for performance enhancement, and decided to uphold the RCF decision not to suspend him.

It also confirmed the disqualification from stage 5 of the Tour, and the 1,500 CHF fine.

Kolobnev is currently sidelined due to a training accident and so he won’t return to racing immediately. His schedule will be worked out with the team. Despite not racing since the Tour, he believes he can return to strong form soon.

“I think I have enough power and motivation to strength the team in Classics races as well as in other races of the season,” he stated.



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