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Russian team vows to continue legal battle to get its UCI WorldTour licence reinstated after receiving Licence Commission's reasoned decision...

Katusha has confirmed receipt of the UCI’s reasoned decision as to why the governing body’s Licence Commission refused to grant it a UCI WorldTour licence for 2013 earlier this month, a decision that shocked the cycling world, and says it will continue its fight to regain its place through the Court of Arbitration for Sport. However there is some divergence between the team and the UCI on what the actual reasons for the refusal are according to the Italian newspaper Gazetto dello Sport.

The Russian team insists there is nothing in the document that goes beyond what was discussed at a meeting with the Licence Commission on 22 November, when it has previously claimed it was verbally told by a representative of the UCI’s auditors, Ernst & Young, that its application was in order in terms of the financial criteria it was required to fulfill, which has been stated as the reason for refusal.

The report in today's print edition of the Gazetta dello Sport however says that the UCI turned down the Russian team's WorldTour licence application on ethical rather than financial grounds. According to the Italian report the UCI cited the 2009 bans for EPO use handed out to Katusha riders Toni Colom and Christian Pfannberger, the failed drugs test by Denis Galimzyanov in March of this year, and the saga of Alexander Kolobnev's failed drugs test at last year's Tour de France for which the Russian cycling federation handed out a fine rather than a ban. There was also the matter of the alleged €150,000 bribe alleged to have been accepted by Kolobnev not to contest the sprint too hard in the 2010 edition of Liege Bastogne Liege.

According to the Italian report the UCI was also concerned about the number of Katusha riders supposedly implicated in the ongoing Padua investigation. Four prominent riders on the team are understood to be impliacted - all Russian. Furthermore the UCI were reported to be unhappy with the management of the team - the current management team is led by Viacheslav Ekimov a man who is tainted in the eyes of many by his long association with Lance Armstrong and the USPS team. Up until October of this year Hans-Michael Holczer had been in charge of the team his previous management stints included being in charge of the Gerolsteiner - team - which he helped to found. Gerolsteiner folded in 2008 when the title sponsor tired pulled out after Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl tested positive for CERA EPO.

In its statement released yesterday, Katusha pointed out that it has taken nine days for the UCI to communicate to it the full reasons behind the licence commission’s full decision, which has reached it less than five weeks before the 2013 season is due to start with the Tour Down Under on 20 January.

“Nine days after the decision of the UCI License Commission concerning the refusal of 2013 professional license prolongation, the Russian World Tour team Katusha has received a document containing the reasons of the refusal,” said the team’s statement.

“All the positions mentioned in this document were considered during held on thee 22nd of November 2012 UCI License Commission preliminary hearing. All the information provided by Katusha by its opinion is complete and corresponds the requirements of the UCI License Commission.

“After receiving the above-mentioned document the Russian team Katusha confirms its determination to defend its rights using all civilized ways in order to receive the World Tour license, including the already made appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” it added.

As things currently stand, Katusha does not even know whether it will be awarded a second division UCI Professional Continental licence for next year, an extraordinary state of affairs given that it finished the 2012 season in second place in the UCI WorldTour team ranking and, in Joaquim Rodriguez, has the man who topped the individual standings.

The exact aspect of the UCI’s licensing criteria  that the team has failed to satisfy whether ethical or financial has not yet been made public, but while attempts are made to resolve the situation, agents of Rodriguez and other riders are certain to be working behind the scenes to try and line up alternative teams for the forthcoming season while the uncertainty continues.

While the ethical case against Katusha would appear to be a strong one critics of the UCI may well ask why the Russian team was singled out when there are other teams who would surely also have difficulty in meeting any rigourously applied ethical criteria as part of the licensing process. One such team, it could be argued, is Saxo Bank-Tinkoff the team which ironically would seem to have been spared at Katusha's expense.

The team is being backed in its fight against the UCI by the Russian cycling federation whose president, energy billionaire Igor Makarov, also happens to be the owner of Katusha. Mr Makarov also sits on the management committee of the UCI.

 

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.

13 comments

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antonio [1103 posts] 3 years ago
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Light the blue touch paper and retire!

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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Apparently Gazzetta's reporting today that the refusal was on ethical grounds

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 3 years ago
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Having just read the "ethical grounds" reason's.....Quite a few times should be kicked out.

I see a ticking time bomb and its all going to explode at CAS  19

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 3 years ago
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This is getting, erm, interesting!

Can't wait to see how this all pans out.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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If Katusha do not get a licence on "Ethical grounds", why are the same criteria not applied to the sponsorless Rabobank? They have an equally shabby reputation. I'm beginning to suspect the UCI might be corrupt in some way.

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rumpo Kid wrote:

If Katusha do not get a licence on "Ethical grounds", why are the same criteria not applied to the sponsorless Rabobank? They have an equally shabby reputation. I'm beginning to suspect the UCI might be corrupt in some way.

The thing about Rabobank is that their bad history is, for the most part, a few years old. They really started trying to get their house in order after 07 with Rasmussan etc scandals.

Whereas from their launch in 09 there have been issues with Katusha.

Some people will say 'what about other bad teams'. For my part if the UCI is starting to put down some kind of marker starting with one team with up-to-date scandals, personally I dont have a problem with this. We only bitch and whine that ethics aren't an issue for the UCI.

And lets be honest, if this was Lampre there wouldn't have been such an outcry in the first place. Its mainly cos its J-Rod's team, and most of us like him.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 3 years ago
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What about other bad teams......

Saxo bank got their license, there is nothing but dodgy history with them.

I could go into detail about most of the teams. Look at the way Sky have cleared house.....

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

What about other bad teams......

Saxo bank got their license, there is nothing but dodgy history with them.

I could go into detail about most of the teams. Look at the way Sky have cleared house.....

There is NO WT team without riders/staff/managers/owners without a past. Not one. However, you meantion Sky so let's look at them by comparison:

Sky: no positives since the team was launched

Katusha have several riders who've tested postive since they launched a year before Sky. incl as recently as Apr

Sky: no naughty flogging of races to a rival

Katusha: Kolobnev and LBL

Sky: Performance Director - Brailsford

Katusha: til recently Holszer aka Mr Magoo for his amazing shortsightedness when it comes to his teams doping (incl before Katusha). To be replaced by Ekimov, for gods sake.

And finally...the Padua investigation, the very recent involvement with Ferrari and the direct implication of 4 Katusha riders in that

Bit of a difference.

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atlaz [175 posts] 3 years ago
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I think Saxo are the obviously suspect ones if we're going to look at ethical issues. Their entire history is littered with dopers and their current #1 is an unrepentant and hypocritical doper. If you're not letting Katusha in on those grounds, I'd love to see how they fare against Saxo on some official UCI documentation.

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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atlaz wrote:

I think Saxo are the obviously suspect ones if we're going to look at ethical issues. Their entire history is littered with dopers and their current #1 is an unrepentant and hypocritical doper. If you're not letting Katusha in on those grounds, I'd love to see how they fare against Saxo on some official UCI documentation.

Trust me, I'd love to have seen Saxo also refused on ethical grounds

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 3 years ago
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The UCI making decisions on ethical grounds is rather ironic! Also, if they applied ethical grounds to all the teams, the pro tour would be pretty small at the moment.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 3 years ago
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The UCI have just dropped another BOMBSHELL
http://www.uci.ch/Modules/ENews/ENewsDetails2011.asp?id=ODkzMg

Quote:

While waiting for additional information to be provided, the Licence Commission will re-examine, in January 2013, the application of the RusVelo

So now Rusvelo are having problems.....

Could be to everyone's good, the Kremlin with send someone to top Fat Pat with some nuclear stuff and we will all live happily ever after....Its beginning to take on a fairy tale story look

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 3 years ago
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In other news, I just hit 5400 posts

Also, these kits have been revealed

http://instagram.com/p/TbcH46E6Av/

http://www.omegapharma-quickstep.com/nl/news/show/opqs-cycling-team-nieu...