One day after Alexey Tsatevich was handed a large time penalty for persistent slipstreaming during the ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia, his Katusha team has taken the unusual step of removing the Russian from the race.
The 26 year old won a stage in this year’s Volta a Catalunya and was eighth on stage seven of the Giro d’Italia. However he broke UCI regulations by shadowing Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin) during Sunday’s time trial. His team said this was serious enough to warrant further punishment.
“Alexey Tsatevich seriously violated the rules of riding an individual time trial by drafting on the wheel of another rider for a very long time,” it said in a statement.
“The UCI race commissaires decided to penalize Alexey Tsatevich, according to UCI Article 12.1.040/40.1 (Failure to respect regulation distances and gaps between riders [slip-streaming]) with 100 CHF fine and 6 minutes 48 seconds penalty in the stage classification.
“Team Katusha however judged that this measure was not enough for such poor and unacceptable behaviour and pulled the rider out of the race.”
Director sportif Dmitry Konyshev apologised on the team’s behalf for what happened. “The way Tsatevich rode yesterday’s stage was absolutely unacceptable. First of all, he broke the clear rule, known by every professional rider. In addition, he also showed a great lack of respect for his rival, the rider who caught him on the course.”
Equally seriously, at least as far as Katusha is concerned, is that he didn’t comply with instructions. “He absolutely ignored the team plan for the day, provided and requested by the sports director,” Konyshev continued.
“His behaviour has a huge and negative impact on the image of cycling in general and Team Katusha in particular. Accepting the commissaires penalty was not enough for us; we had to take more severe measures. It is not easy to enter the second week of the race with just 8 riders, but I am convinced we’ve made the right decision.”