UCI status revoked from Russian and Belarusian teams

The UCI stopped short of banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from racing for trade teams.

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The UCI took a number of measures in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Tuesday, banning Russian and Belarusian national teams from UCI events, stripping UCI status from professional teams from both countries, cancelling UCI-sanctioned events in both countries, and banning sponsorships from Russian and Belarusian companies, among other measures.

The governing body stopped short of banning individual Russian and Belarusian license holders from competing, provided they race for a team that is neither Russian nor Belarusian.

The response was unanimously approved in a special session of the UCI management committee on Tuesday and represents the first concrete steps the UCI has taken to punish Russian and Belarusian entities for the invasion of Ukraine. The announcement comes a day after the International Olympic Committee, to which the UCI is a signatory, released recommendations that Olympic-movement sports ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials and strip approval from all Russian and Belarusian events.

AusCycling, which will host the Road World Championships later this year, released a statement earlier Tuesday stating that Russian and Belarusian teams would not be welcome at worlds, regardless of the UCI’s eventual position on the matter. The two organizations are now in sync.

The following decisions were taken, according to a statement from the UCI:

1. Russian and Belarusian national teams and / or national selections are not authorised to take part in any events on the UCI International Calendar, with immediate effect.

2. UCI Team status is withdrawn from all teams under Russian or Belarusian nationality and the UCI shall not consider any further applications for UCI status from teams from these two countries. The withdrawal of UCI Team status concerns the following teams:

UCI ProTeam Gazprom – RusVelo (RUS)

UCI Continental Team Vozrozhdenie (RUS)

UCI Track Team Marathon – Tula Cycling Team (RUS)

UCI Continental Team CCN Factory Racing (BLR)

UCI Continental Team Minsk Cycling Club (BLR)

UCI Women’s Continental Team Minsk Cycling Club (BLR).

3. The UCI withdraws all Russian and Belarusian events from the 2022 UCI International Calendar and shall not consider any further registration requests. The following events are concerned by the withdrawal from the UCI International Calendar:

Grand Prix Moscow 1: class 2 track event (20-21 May 2022)

Granfondo Moscow: UCI Granfondo World Series event (21-22 May 2022)

Grand Prix Moscow 2: category 2 track event (22 May 2022)

Grand Prix Saint-Petersburg: category 2 track event (26-29 May 2022)

Five Rings of Moscow: class 2.2 road event (8-12 June 2022).

4. The Russian and Belarusian National Championships are also withdrawn from the UCI International Calendar.

5. The appearance of all emblems, names, acronyms, flags and anthems linked to Russia and Belarus are prohibited at all events on the UCI International Calendar. The Russian and Belarusian National Champions’ jerseys are therefore banned.

6. Any bids from Russian and Belarusian candidates for the organisation of UCI events shall not be considered.

7. The UCI forbids organisers of events on the UCI International Calendar from inviting Russian and Belarusian club, regional or mixed teams.

8. The UCI will not appoint Russian or Belarusian International Commissaires to UCI International Calendar events until further notice.

The UCI also clarified that athletes racing under Russian or Belarusian licenses would be permitted to compete for their trade teams, provided they are registered with a team that is not banned (i.e. any team that isn’t from Russia or Belarus). These athletes will participate in a neutral capacity, without flags or other emblems of their country.

“The decision not to impose a blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes at all international events is based on obtaining a balance of all interests,” the UCI statement reads. “In particular, it is a question of taking into account the contractual rights of the riders and teams concerned, and not to unjustly penalise teams that are not Russian or Belarusian.”

Professional cycling is home to a number of Russian and Belarusian athletes, including high-profile riders like Pavel Sivakov, Aleksandr Vlasov, and Ilnur Zakarin. Sivakov and Vlasov will be permitted to continue racing as they are not contracted to a banned Russian or Belarusian team, while Zakarin’s GazProm-RusVelo team has been banned.

The UCI will also allow any athlete with multiple nationalities to switch their registration from Russia or Belarus to that of a different nation. This could affect riders like Sivakov, who has lived in France since childhood and has never lived in Russia.

The UCI will not ban Russians or Belarusians from serving within the UCI as long as they are not directly implicated in breaking the Olympic Truce. This clears the way for individuals like Igor Makarov to maintain his position on the UCI management committee.

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