Kolobnev denies knowledge of doping product, says not fired by Katusha
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kolobnev denies knowledge of doping product, says not fired by Katusha

by Shane Stokes at 5:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
Voluntarily leaves Tour while waiting for B sample

Alexandr KolobnevAlexandr Kolobnev is under the cloud of a positive A sample for a banned diuretic and already out of the Tour de France, but has insisted today that he doesn’t know how it got into his system.

“Yesterday, during the rest day I was reported the laboratories had found a substance, hydrochlorothiazide, which I don’t know where it came from. Therefore, waiting for more information, I have nothing to say about it for respect to the race organizers and cycling in general.

“After police's investigation made after being tested positive, the French police found nothing suspicious so we are waiting for the results and what the investigation may say.”

News of Kolobnev’s failed doping test was initially announced by L’Equipe, then confirmed very soon afterwards by the UCI. Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic which is forbidden in sport due to is properties as a masking agent and, as stated by WADA yesterday, could draw a sanction of up to two years.

Due to the nature of the substance and the classification under which it is ranked in the WADA Code, the UCI stated yesterday that Kolobnev was free to continue racing until such time as the B sample result was known. However the governing body also made clear that it didn’t feel it was suitable for him to do so, given the shadow the case would cast over the Tour. “The UCI is confident that his team will take the necessary steps to enable the Tour de France to continue in serenity,” it said in a statement.

Kolobnev duly withdrew from the race, and was questioned by police. “Asked by my team about what I wanted to do after this news, I have decided to leave the Tour de France in a voluntary and personal decision waiting for the b-sample in the following days and, again showing my respect to UCI and WADA rules. I must say that I have received all the support from the team from the beginning and I have not been fired, as some media reported yesterday.”

The team made this clear yesterday evening, saying that he would be automatically dismissed if and when the B sample confirmed the A result. It also stated that he would be liable to a ban of up to five times his annual salary, although that sanction is unprecedented and would likely be contested in court.

The 30 year old is a two time silver medallist at the world road race championships, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist and a runner up in the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.


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