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Katusha rider ‘very upset’ after team ejects him from Giro for drafting in time trial

Alexex Tsatevich denies ignoring orders from sports director

Alexey Tsatevich has described himself as ‘very upset’ to have been ejected from the Giro d’Italia by his own team. The Russian rider was fined 100 CHF and given a 6m48s time penalty by UCI commissaires after drafting another rider during the stage nine individual time trial. However, Katusha concluded that such a measure was “not enough for such poor and unacceptable behaviour” and pulled him from the race.

In a statement, the team’s sports director Dmitry Konyshev said:

“First of all, on behalf of Team Katusha, I would like to apologize for Alexey Tsatevich’s behavior during the time trial. The way Tsatevich rode yesterday’s stage was absolutely unacceptable. First of all, he broke the clear rule, known by every professional rider. In addition, he also showed a great lack of respect for his rival, the rider who caught him on the course.

“Moreover, he absolutely ignored the team plan for the day, provided and requested by the sports director. His behavior has a huge and negative impact on the image of cycling in general and Team Katusha in particular. Accepting the commissaires penalty was not enough for us; we had to take more severe measures. It is not easy to enter the second week of the race with just 8 riders, but I am convinced we’ve made the right decision.”

Some may feel that Tsatevich is something of a sacrificial lamb as his team attempts to portray a whiter-than-white image following other recent controversies.

In February, the UCI’s disciplinary commission decided against suspending Katusha from racing despite two riders, Luca Paolini and Eduard Vorganov, failing anti-doping controls within a 12-month period (Vorganov’s suspension has since been lifted).

The team subsequently left the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), as MPCC rules meant it would have been required to suspend itself from racing for eight days. Katusha noted that such an action would have conflicted with UCI rules which demand that top flight teams participate in all WorldTour races.

Going further back, in 2013 the UCI denied Katusha its racing licence on ethical grounds – a decision that was ultimately reversed only after the team had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Reacting to his Giro ejection, Tsatevich denied that he had disobeyed team orders, posting the following statement on his website alongside a picture of himself riding the time trial with his left leg bandaged and gauzed.

“I am very upset about this situation. During all race I tried to show good results. I fell several times, I got up and continued race again, through feeling of pain, in order to be useful to team. On my feelings during ITT, I keep a distance. The judge didn't warn me about violation of a distance, and so, I continued the race.

“Also, I want to note, that I didn't ignore the requirement and request of the sporting director. Anyway, I wish good luck to guys! I will support team at home as the viewer. I apologize for the inconvenience.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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