Alexander Kolobnev, sacked by Katusha after failing a doping control at last year’s Tour de France, is to return to the peloton with the Russian outfit. The news follows a ruling earlier this month by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)in which it rejected an appeal by the UCI against the decision of the Russian cycling federation, the FVSR, not to ban the 30-year-old.
Kolobnev, twice runner-up in the world road race championship, had instead been fined 1,500 Swiss Francs and issued with a reprimand by his national governing body after testing positive for hydrochlorothiazide in a doping control taken prior to Stage 5 of last summer's Tour.
The CAS accepted his argument that the banned substance was contained in an over-the-counter medication that Kolobnev’s doctor had recommended he use. Although it is not in itself a performance enhancing substance, hydrochlorothiazide is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since it can be used as a masking agent.
In a statement on its website, Katusha confirmed that its general manager Hans Holczer and Kolobnev had signed a contract for him to ride for the ProTeam outfit for the remainder of the season, although he will not be competing immediately as he recovers from an injury sustained while training.
“I am very happy to receive a proposal to become a part of Katusha Team,” said Kolobnev. “I had a very hard period of time in my life, but I passed it already, its behind me.
“I thank Russian Cycling Federation and its President Igor Makarov [the billionaire owner of Katusha] for the big support, was provided me.
“With the help of Mr. Makarov I can ride for Katusha again. I think, I have enough power and motivation to strength the team as in classics race as well as in other races of the season.”
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.