Roman Kreuziger says his provisional suspension due to anomalies in his biological passport “has no basis in UCI legislation” since he has not failed an anti-doping control. Meanwhile, the managing director of his Tinkoff-Saxo team has hit out at comments made about the case by UCI president Brian Cookson.
The UCI provisionally suspended Kreuziger on Saturday, the day before he was due to start the Tour of Poland. The race was due to mark his return to competition after being withdrawn from his team’s line-up for last month’s Tour de France once it was revealed that his biological passport data were being investigated.
The 28-year-old hopes the Court of Arbitration for Sport will lift the provisional suspension before the Vuelta starts on August 23. A statement on his personal website claimed that the UCI had no power to impose the provisional suspension.
It said: “Mr. Kreuziger and his legal counsel strongly oppose the UCI decision, which has no basis in the UCI legislation, allowing imposition of a provisional suspension only in cases of a positive A sample, which is not Mr. Kreuziger’s case.”
The statement went on to insist that the immediate suspension of a rider “can only be imposed when there exists a risk that the results of a race might be affected by the alleged doping activity of a rider (it’s hard to how the 2014 race results could be affected by a blood profile finding from 2012?)”
It also questioned the timing of the provisional suspension, saying: “Until last Saturday Mr. Kreuziger had not been banned in any manner from his racing activities.
“However, after Mr. Kreuziger’s team published the press release on the rider’s appearance in the 2014 Tour of Poland, the UCI announced its intention to ban the rider immediately, which actually happened on Saturday, 2.8.2014, the night before the race started.”
The team’s frustrations have also been made clear with its managing director Sandro Feltrin writing an open letter to Cookson highlighting, among other things, what he said were inconsistencies the UCI president's comments about the case in an interview on Sunday with Cycling News.
Feltrin said it was “hard to understand how the UCI’s President in the same interview can state, on the one hand, that 'I don’t know the detailed history of the case as I wasn’t the president then, and one of the things that I have done is separate myself from the detail of the anti-doping process' and, on the other hand, 'There are very serious anomalies': obviously one of the two statements cannot be true."
Kreuziger himself underlined his frustration with the situation, saying: “I’m not a cheat, and I have not committed any doping offence. Experts confirm that there is no evidence of any alleged anti-doping rule violation in my case. This has been going on since June 2013, and still there is no formal case opened against me. Despite this I’m now provisionally suspended. I sincerely hope that this situation can be resolved quickly and not turned into a political matter.”
In a statement issued yesterday, the UCI indicated that it would look to bring about a speedy resolution to the case, saying it “shall cooperate with him in agreeing to an expedited proceeding that should allow CAS to decide the appeal before the beginning of the Vuelta.”
In response to the criticism of its handling of the issue, it added: “The UCI will not comment on the various statements by the rider and his team as to the merits of the case and will present its position in the disciplinary proceedings.”