MOSCOW, December 20 (R-Sport) – The Katusha cycling team says it was refused a 2013 WorldTour license on the grounds that its anti-doping program was insufficient, immediately rejecting the claim.
The international cycling union announced the shock decision last week, leading Katusha to file an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but not providing any explanation, until now.
The UCI issued a brief statement on Wednesday saying it had finally informed the team of the reason for the denial.
"It was pointed out to us that there four doping cases," Katusha general manager Vyacheslav Ekimov revealed later.
“[But] the UCI doesn’t speak directly about doping use in the team,” added Ekimov, himself a three-time Olympic champion.
“And they don’t provide information on doping use or any positive tests of riders currently included in Katusha’s roster.”
The decision was based on four cases of drug use from 2009 through 2012, including the disqualification of Denis Galimzyanov, who was banned for two years on Wednesday, Katusha said.
“What has happened to Galimzyanov, happened only with him and it’s not connected with the team,” Ekimov said. “He wrote a letter where he confessed everything, stating that the team had nothing to do with it.”
More broadly, Ekimov insisted the team had all the necessary anti-doping procedures in place.
“We are taking anti-doping preventive measures. We have explained and will explain to riders our intolerance towards doping. When the UCI asked us about how the work is carried out and asked for internal testing, we told them we were ready to double the control in this field.”
Katusha confirmed its intention to appeal the decision in court, adding that the process would probably last for a month and a half.
If Katusha gets no license, it would have to rely on sought-after wildcard entries to major races. The team had already received offers from various race organizers.