UCI confirms derogation given to Katusha to re-sign Kolobnev
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

UCI confirms derogation given to Katusha to re-sign Kolobnev

by Shane Stokes at 6:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Normal contract rules don’t apply due to complexities of case

Alexandr KolobnevThe UCI has this morning confirmed that it has given an ‘exceptional authorisation’ to the Katusha team to re-sign Alexandr Kolobnev, despite the usual rules limiting team size.

The Russian squad yesterday announced that it had given the rider a new contract, months after he was released after testing positive during the Tour de France.

This news raised questions about how the team was able to do so, giving that its roster was already full.

UCI rules state that teams can have a maximum of 28 riders, although this number can be increased to thirty if two neo-pros are part of the roster. Kolobnev’s signature raised the number to 30, but as just one of those other riders fits into the neo-pro category, the contract appeared to clash with regulations.

However the UCI has explained how the acquisition was approved. “The UCI gave a derogation to the Katusha team because it was the old employer of the rider,” its spokesman Enrico Carpani confirmed to VeloNation this morning.

“The situation is a very particular one as the rider was fired after testing positive in the Tour de France. But afterwards CAS said that he was not guilty. Based on this decision, the UCI gave a derogation to Katusha in order to allow them to rehire him.

“In accordance to the rules, they couldn’t normally do this, as they are 28 plus one trainee. Their roster was complete. But this is an exceptional authorization.”

On July 11th Kolobnev was announced as having tested positive for the banned substance hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic. On October 27th the rider confirmed that the Russian federation would not suspend him for the positive test, but rather fine him 1500 Swiss francs.

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 hydrochlorothiazide was in a medication prescribed by his personal doctor. It concluded that he was not trying to enhance his performance.

Kolobnev is recovering from a training accident but despite a long break from racing, believes he can ride strongly this year.

“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 yesterday.

He has twice finished second in the UCI world road race championships, and was elevated to the bronze medal position in the 2008 Olympic road race after Davide Rebellin was disqualified. Last year Kolobnev was fifth in the Amstel Gold Race and second in the GP Miguel Indurain.

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