The UCI has clarified its position on Russian cyclists competing at the Olympic Games in Rio following the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week to leave it up to individual sporting governing bodies to decide whether the doping scandal-hit country's athletes should be allowed to participate.
That decision from the IOC followed the publication last week of the McLaren report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency on the extent of doping among Russia's athletes, and state-sanctioned cover-ups of positive tests, following earlier investigations by the media and the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF).
The McLaren report found that hundreds of positive anti-doping tests returned by Russian athletes had been concealed, for example by substituting the original samples for clean ones, sometimes with the collusion of state security forces.
UCI president Brian Cookson subsequently said that the UCI would examine Russian cyclists due to compete at Rio on a case-by-case basis. Now, the governing body says that it has cleared 11 of them to ride at next month's Olympics, while three will be investigated as a result of being implicated by the McLaren report.
The UCI also said that three cyclists who have previously served doping bans, and who were named in the original Russian team, had been withdrawn from the squad for Rio by the Russian Olympic Committee.
While no names were mentioned, those riders are believed to be men's team pursuit squad member Sergey Shilov, Olga Zabelinskaya, who won bronze in the road race and time trial at London 2012, and Katusha rider Ilnur Zakarin, winner of a stage in this year's Tour de France.
Here's the UCI's statement in full:
Based on the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board requesting that each International Sports Federation determine the eligibility of Russian athletes able to compete in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that it has communicated the information below to the IOC.
Following the publication of the McLaren Investigation Report, the UCI immediately sought information from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) related to the sport of cycling and was informed that three riders named by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to compete in Rio 2016 were potentially implicated. The UCI, through the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), is in the process of identifying relevant rider samples and is in close dialogue with WADA to move forward with these cases immediately. It has also passed the names of these three athletes to the IOC in the context of its Executive Board decision.
Three other riders who have previously been sanctioned for Anti-Doping Rule Violations have been withdrawn by the ROC.
In addition, the CADF has carried out a careful assessment on the other 11 riders named by the ROC to participate in Rio 2016 cycling events. After thorough analysis of the testing history of these riders and considering the scrutiny currently being applied to all of them, the UCI and CADF believe that this is sufficient for these athletes to meet the relevant requirement of the decision of the IOC Executive Board.
The examination has purposely not considered tests conducted by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). Furthermore, it is also important to stress that since the publication of the Independent Commission Report in November 2015, the UCI requested that the CADF intensify testing of Russian cyclists – and this level of heightened testing will continue before, during and after Rio 2016.
The UCI is absolutely committed to protecting the rights of clean athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.