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.
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.