Katusha has returned its Spanish rider Angel Vicioso to its active roster after suspending him last week when he failed to appear at the Operacion Puerto trial, having apparently given the team the impression he had no further involvement in it.
His failure to give evidence as scheduled caused the judge presiding over the case to threaten to take action to compel him to appear, and also proved an embarrassment for his team, which only a week earlier finally managed to secure its WorldTour licence for the coming season.
In the testimony he finally gave on Friday, when he spoke to the courtroom in Madrid via video link from the city of Lleida in Catalonia, Vicioso agreed that he had visited the clinic of Dr Eufeniano Fuentes between 2004 and 2006.
However, the 35-year-old rider claimed that the purpose of his calls on the doctor related to a knee problem and not doping.
Fuentes and five others stand accused on charges relating to public health, doping not being illegal in Spain at the time the authorities launched Operacion Puerto in 2006.
.“We have decided to return him [Viciosos] to the squad on the basis of the documents he provided,” said Vyacheslav Ekimov, Katusha’s general manager, quoted on the website R-Sport.
“He spoke in the court through video conference, answered the questions that the investigators were interested in. We decided that we can’t keep him out of races any more. These explanations satisfied us, so Angel is back into the team.”
Vicioso will return to racing on Thursday in the GP Camaiore in Italy.
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.