Katusha team escape suspension after doping tests

Tue Feb 9, 2016 1:28pm EST
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(Reuters) - The Katusha World Tour cycling team have escaped suspension despite two of their riders failing drugs tests in the space of a year, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Tuesday after a disciplinary commission hearing.

The regulations stipulate that a team, once all circumstances have been considered, shall be suspended if two of their riders test for a prohibited substance within a 12-month period.

The commission ruled, however, that the conditions for a suspension of the Russian team had not been met because the first positive test involving Italian Luca Paolini was for cocaine taken on a recreational basis.

"Even if, strictly speaking, such a case falls within the application of the anti-doping rules for the rider concerned, the imposition of negative consequences for the whole team would be inappropriate and disproportionate,” it said in a statement.

"The President of the Commission has expressed that he could share the view that it would be disproportionate to suspend a team on the basis that one of its members (uses) a social drug, the consumption of which is not related to sporting performance."

Paolini tested positive during last year's Tour de France.

Russian Eduard Vorganov failed an out-of-competition test on Jan. 14 for Meldonium, a substance that helps recovery and protects against stress which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list on Jan. 1.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

Katusha rider Luca Paolini of Italy poses during the Tour de France cycling race presentation in Utrecht, Netherlands, July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier