“Katusha is ready to fight and is stronger than ever.”
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

“Katusha is ready to fight and is stronger than ever.”

by Ben Atkins at 11:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Russian team reacts with anger and surprise at denial of UCI WorldTour registration

joaquim rodriguezAfter taking 24 hours to digest the news, the Katusha team has reacted with anger and surprise at the International Cycling Union (UCI) decision to deny it registration in the 2013 WorldTour. The Russian team - which is the current home to 2012 WorldTour winner Joaquim Rodríguez, and finished second in the team classification - was the only one of the top-15 teams in the UCI’s sporting criterion ranking - and the only team in the 2012 WorldTour - to miss out on registration, while Professional Continental Argos-Shimano stepped up.

Since the decision was taken by the UCI License Commission, and not the Management Committee, the press release announcing the news gave no reason for Katusha’s rejection; so far, a day on, the Russian team has also yet to be informed.

“At present moment Katusha Team has no information regarding the reasons for the decision of the UCI to reject the request from the team for registration in first division,” reads the Katusha statement. “Team management, riders and staff are extremely surprised by the lack of justification for such a decision made by the UCI.”

According to Katusha, the team’s application was all going to plan, with the UCI satisfied with everything presented when it was called before the License Commission, so the eventual refusal of registration is a reversal of this. Exclusion of the team, it argues, is tantamount to excluding the whole Russian nation.

“Thus earlier the team, which possesses rider number one in the world and has finished the season in second place in the UCI World Tour ranking, was informed that it satisfies all possible criteria required for participation in the first division,” the statement explains. “In fact the only Russian team, where the majority of riders are Russian citizens, has been excluded from participation in races of the World Tour. Thus, this decision of the UCI has suspended Russia as a country from participation in cycling competitions of the highest level.

“The management of Katusha Team, its riders and staff are surprised by such a quick change of decision, lack of coordination inside the UCI press-service and a complete absence of reasons for such a fast decision.”

By excluding Katusha, the team argues, the UCI is going against its role of globalising the sport of cycling, and - by leaving the decision so late - violates its own ethical principles.

“The UCI which has been established in order to protect the interests of the riders worldwide, on the contrary by its actions completely violates the canons of sports ethics and causes irreparable moral and psychological harm to the athletes before the start of the new season, and the delay in explaining the reasons of the decisions only shows the lack of the significance of these reasons,” the team says.

Although the UCI has yet to fully inform the team of the reasons for its rejection, it is expected to do so in the coming days. Katusha meanwhile, must do its best to satisfy its riders - who, under UCI regulations, are all free to seek alternative teams - and investigate its options.

For now, however, it is business as usual at the Russian team as it prepares for 2013.

“In the nearest future the management of the Russian team Katusha intends to investigate thoroughly this incident, first of all in order to give all possible explanations to the riders and staff of the team, as well as to choose a future strategy,” says the statement.

“In addition, the Katusha Team is not retreating from the plans that have been made for the next season and is preparing for the official team presentation, which is scheduled for mid-December 2012 inItaly.”

Once it has received the full explanation for its exclusion from the UCI, the next avenue for Katusha would be the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS), where it will almost certainly appeal the decision.

“The Russian team intends to defend its interests with the help of all possible civilised instruments and methods, including going to court,” it confirms, before adding:

“Katusha is ready to fight and is stronger than ever.”


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