Grand tours have ways of meting out justice for broken rules — often fines, docked points in the minor classifications, or perhaps time penalties. However, Katusha took matters into its own hands to discipline rider Alexey Tsatevich — it pulled the Russian from the Giro d’Italia for flagrantly drafting another rider in Sunday’s time trial.
Initially, Tsatevich was fined 100 Swiss Francs ($102) by UCI race commissaires, and given a time penalty of nearly seven minutes for his “failure to respect regulation distances and gaps between riders.” But that was not enough for the Russian team.
In a written statement, the team’s director, Dmitry Konyshev, said, “First of all, on behalf of Team KATUSHA, I would like to apologize for Alexey Tsatevich’s behavior during the time trial. 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. Moreover, he absolutely ignored the team plan for the day, provided and requested by the sports director. His behavior 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.”
On his website, Tsatevich apologized, writing, “I am very upset about this situation. During all race I tried to show good results. I fell several times, I got up and continued race again, through feeling of pain, in order to be useful to team. On my feelings during ITT, I keep a distance. The judge didn’t warn me about violation of a distance, and so, I continued the race.”
In the 2015 Vuelta a España, Vincenzo Nibali, now riding in the Giro as a top favorite, was thrown out of the race for taking a tow from his Astana team’s car.