Alexander Kolobnev, sacked by Katusha after failing a doping control at last year’s Tour de France, is to return to the peloton with the Russian outfit. The news follows a ruling earlier this month by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)in which it rejected an appeal by the UCI against the decision of the Russian cycling federation, the FVSR, not to ban the 30-year-old.
Kolobnev, twice runner-up in the world road race championship, had instead been fined 1,500 Swiss Francs and issued with a reprimand by his national governing body after testing positive for hydrochlorothiazide in a doping control taken prior to Stage 5 of last summer's Tour.
The CAS accepted his argument that the banned substance was contained in an over-the-counter medication that Kolobnev’s doctor had recommended he use. Although it is not in itself a performance enhancing substance, hydrochlorothiazide is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since it can be used as a masking agent.
In a statement on its website, Katusha confirmed that its general manager Hans Holczer and Kolobnev had signed a contract for him to ride for the ProTeam outfit for the remainder of the season, although he will not be competing immediately as he recovers from an injury sustained while training.
“I am very happy to receive a proposal to become a part of Katusha Team,” said Kolobnev. “I had a very hard period of time in my life, but I passed it already, its behind me.
“I thank Russian Cycling Federation and its President Igor Makarov [the billionaire owner of Katusha] for the big support, was provided me.
“With the help of Mr. Makarov I can ride for Katusha again. I think, I have enough power and motivation to strength the team as in classics race as well as in other races of the season.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.