(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