UCI WorldTour team Katusha could face a suspension from racing after its rider Eduard Vorganov tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium. It’s the second Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) returned by one of the Russian team’s riders after Luca Paolini was found positive for cocaine during last year’s Tour de France. Proceedings are still ongoing in his case.
Vorganov tested positive for the substance – classified by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a “hormone and metabolic modulators,” and added to its prohibited list from 1 January 2016, in an out-of-competition anti-doping control conducted on 14 January 2016.
The rider has the right to request analysis of his B sample, but has been provisionally suspended by the UCI.
In a press release, world cycling's governing body said: "This constitutes the second AAF for a member of the UCI WorldTeam Katusha within a 12 month period. Therefore, as per article 7.12.1 UCI ADR [Anti-Doping Rules], the UCI will refer the matter to the Disciplinary Commission which will render a decision in the coming days. "
In January last year, following the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code 2015, the UCI said it had “adopted new measures relating to teams and their responsibilities.”
The current rules are:
If two riders and/or staff within a team have an ADRV [Anti-Doping Ruled Violation], within a period of 12 months, the team shall be suspended from participation in any international event for a period determined by the UCI Disciplinary Commission. The suspension will be between 15 days and 45 days.
If there is a third ADRV, the team shall be suspended for between 15 days and 12 months.
Fine for UCI WorldTeams and Pro Continental Teams
In addition to the suspension above, UCI WorldTeams and Pro Continental Teams shall pay a fine if two of their riders and/or staff have ADRVs within a twelve-month period. The fine will be 5% of the annual Team budget.
In a statement, Katusha said:
We understand that the adverse analytical finding concerns the substance Meldonium (also known as Mildronate) which was placed on the prohibited list only on 1 Jan 2016. Team Katusha confirms that this substance has never been used by the Team in any form and was not provided to the rider by the team.
In accordance with Team Katiusha’s zero tolerance policy, Eduard Vorganov has been suspended from all team activities, effective immediately. In the event that Eduard Vorganov took this product on his own initiative, Team Katusha will conduct an investigation as such conduct is in breach of the Team’s strict medical and anti-doping internal rules.*
With that said, Eduard Vorganov awaits the results of his B sample, and Team Katusha respects and will adhere to the process of the anti-doping authorities and will not comment further at this time.
Team Katusha would like to emphasize that it takes all possible measures in order to avoid anti-doping rule violations within its team and is fully committed to fight doping. Team Katusha is obviously extremely disappointed that a situation like this could occur despite these measures.
Aged 33, Vorganov is a former Russian national road race champion and has participated in 11 Grand Tours, his highest overall position being 19th in the 2012 Tour de France.
He has been racing this week in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana but following his provisional suspension will take no further part in the Spanish race.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.