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Denis Menchov back in pro cycling - as a sports director

Russian Grand Tour winner who was handed two-year doping ban after retirement joins Gazprom-RusVelo staff

Denis Menchov, who retired from professional cycling in 2013 and was handed a two-year ban the following year for doping, is returning to the peloton as sports director of the UCI Continental team Gazprom-RusVelo.

The 40-year-old was banned due to irregularities in his biological passport and stripped of results including his second-place finish to Andy Schleck in the 2010 Tour de France, both moving one step up on the podium after original winner Alberto Contador was disqualified.

Menchov himself won two Grand Tours, the 2007 Vuelta and 2009 Giro d’Italia, but was dogged by allegations of doping throughout his career.

In 2012 the United States Anti-Doping Agency said that former Rabobank doctor Geert Leinders had administered illegal blood transfusions to the Russian rider during the 2005 Tour de France, which he finished in 85th place after struggling with a cold.

Speaking of his new role at the team’s launch last week, Menchov said: “In the recent years we have often talked with [general manager] Renat [Khamidulin] about the possibility of joining the team.

“I should admit, it took me a while to make this decision, but of course I am very glad to become a part of the only Russian professional team. I hope my experience will be useful and I will be able to share it with the young riders,” he added.

Simon joined 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.

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