36-year-old who previously rode for Team Sky and HTC-High Road faces career-ending ban

Bahrain-Merida rider Kanstantin Suitsou has tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test on 31 July 2018.

The UCI said that the test “was planned and carried was the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation,” suggesting that the Belarus rider was specifically targeted.

His team greeted the news “with extreme disappointment” and said that “In accordance with our zero tolerance policy, the rider has been suspended immediately.” Siutsou has the right to request an analysis of his B-sample.

Should the 36-year receive a ban, it would almost certainly end a professional career that has spanned 17 seasons.

Siutsou joined Bahrain-Merida last year, following a season with Dimension Data. Previously, he had ridden for Team Sky for four years and was part of its Tour de France-winning line-up in 2012 and 2013.

Turning pro with Itera in 2001, he rode for teams including Fassa Bortolo and Barloworld, and moved to Team Sky following four seasons with HTC-High Road, with whom he won a stage of the Giro d’Italia in 2009, has biggest career win.

Bahrain-Merida general manager Brent Copeland said: “This news is terribly disappointing, we are very severe with any wrong doing with regards to our internal health code, this behaviour is not accepted by our team and further procedures will be taken against the rider.”

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.