Katusha suspends Angel Vicioso after he fails to appear at Operacion Puerto trial
Spanish rider had told his team that his involvement in case had been concluded
Katusha has suspended Spanish rider Angel Vicioso after he apparently misled the team over his appearance at the Operacion Puerto doping trial. He had originally been due to give evidence last Friday but failed to do so, producing a doctor’s note that claimed he had a bad back.
His testimony was rescheduled for yesterday, but again he failed to appear, leading the judge to threaten to take steps to compel him to give evidence if he did not do so voluntarily.
“Vicioso is suspended from competition,” Katusha’s general manager Vyacheslav Ekimov, told the website R-Sport.
“I asked him whether he would go to the court to give testimony, but he assured me that he had settled the issue, called the official representative and provided all the required documents, but it’s not true,” he added.
While the Operacion Puerto trial relates to events at least six years before Vicioso joined Katusha in 2012, the episode is an embarrassing one for the team, which only last week regained its WorldTour licence at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"We want to co-operate with the UCI in every possible way, therefore such actions by Vicioso just discredits our image," reflected Ekimov.
The 35-year-old Vicioso’s previous teams include ONCE-Eroski and Liberty Seguros, the former Spanish outfits that are very much at the centre of the scandal.
His biggest win came in the colours of Androni Giocattoli on Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia in Rapallo, but was overshadowed by news of the death of Wouter Weylandt in a crash on a descent during the stage.
Last year he was a key domestique for Joaquin Rodriguez at the Giro and the Vuelta.