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by Shane Stokes
September 22, 2014
Two days before the Elite time trial and six days before the Elite road race at cycling’s world championships, Roman Kreuziger has been given a green light to return to competition by the Czech Olympic Committee (COC)’s arbitration panel.
The Tinkoff Saxo rider had been under investigation for possible blood doping after biological passport anomalies were detected by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF). He was not selected for the Tour de France by his team but at the end of July it said that it intended allowing him to ride the Vuelta a España.
The UCI then followed up on the team’s declaration by saying that it was handing the rider a provisional sanction. This action blocked his return in the Tour of Poland, and made his planned participation in the Vuelta a España unlikely. Kreuziger then appealed that provisional suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but it confirmed the CADF course of action on August 21st.
Announcing the decision of the arbitration panel, the COC said that Kreuziger ‘did not violate anti-doping rules.’
It said that it had assessed the existing evidence plus expert reports and opinions submitted by the various parties to the commission.
“The commission took account of the fact that the value of the athlete’s Biological Passport did not exceed the so-called basal (extreme) values, taking into account expert opinions submitted by the International Cycling Federation and by the athlete called.”
It said that Kreuziger argued against the charges and that the COC had concluded that he was telling the truth and that there was no proof he had violated anti-doping regulations.
The COC said that appeals may be submitted to CAS within one month.
In the meantime, Kreuziger is free to take his place on the Czech team for the worlds.
The UCI has issued a initial reaction, confirming receipt of the ruling.
“The UCI takes note of the decision to acquit the rider and will consider the possibility of appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, as provided under the UCI Anti-Doping Rules,” it stated.
“At this stage, with the relevant appeal windows opened, the UCI will not make any further comment on the case.”
The COC decision will once again turn the focus on the question of national federations and committees making rulings concerning their own athletes. In the past the UCI expressed dissatisfaction with this, with the Alberto Contador case and others showing that appeals are possible.