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by Shane Stokes
August 8, 2014
As Tinkoff Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov continues to threaten legal action against the UCI over the provisional suspension handed to Roman Kreuziger over irregularities in his biological passport, the World Anti Doping Agency has verified that it believes the UCI has not crossed any lines with its move.
“The provisional suspension issued by the UCI was a decision compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code,” a WADA spokesman told CyclingTips on Thursday, two days after Kreuziger said that he would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“The Code does not prevent a provisional suspension in this case, not does it make it a mandatory requirement.”
While the UCI doesn’t have a rule specifically addressing provisional suspensions over suspect biological passports, WADA’s statement appears to take some pressure off the governing body.
On June 28th Kreuziger and his team revealed that he was under investigation for alleged bio-passport irregularities, but insisted he was innocent. The Czech rider had been due to ride the Tour de France but was instead sidelined by his team, who later said the decision was taken in order to avoid negative publicity at the race plus extra stress for the riders on the squad.
Last week Tinkoff Saxo stated that, in the absence of a ruling by the UCI, it had decided to allow Kreuziger to return to competition and to compete in the Tour of Poland. Team owner Oleg Tinkov added on Twitter that he would take action of his own against the governing body.
He complained that the UCI should have told him Kreuziger had biological passport issues prior to his move from Astana at the end of 2012. However, bio passport expert Robin Parisotto told CyclingTips that the nature of the system means that it takes time both for anomalies to surface and also for riders to have time to defend themselves.
Last Saturday the UCI said that it was handed the rider a provisional sanction. This action blocked his return in Poland, and made his planned participation in the Vuelta a España unlikely. On Tuesday Kreuziger confirmed that he will appeal the decision to CAS.
The UCI responded by telling CyclingTips that it would agree to a rapid decision by the court. “The UCI fully respects the rider’s rights and – as made clear in the notification sent to the rider on August 2, 2014 – shall cooperate with him in agreeing to an expedited proceeding that should allow CAS to decide the appeal before the beginning of the Vuelta a España.”
It will now take encouragement from WADA’s statement that the provisional suspension handed down was not contrary to the agency’s rules.