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Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha) says he hopes he can receive an Olympic medal following news that Davide Rebellin lost the final appeal of his doping case relating to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Rebellin won the silver medal, but later tested positive for CERA-EPO. The Court of Arbitration in Sport denied an appeal late last week, opening the door for Kolobnev, who finished fourth in the race, to be bumped up to third and receive an Olympic medal.
“Finally I can say the story is finished and I can say that I was third in the Olympic Games,” Kolobnev told VeloNews on Saturday. “Before I couldn’t say anything, it was a really a shit situation. I never knew what the situation was. No one from the Olympics told me anything.”
Kolobnev said he is hopeful that the Olympic officials will contact him about receiving a third-place bronze medal, adding that he said he deserves it in light of the recent CAS decision.
“Finally everyone knows how it is. I hope to get a medal soon,” Kolobnev continued. “If he was positive, of course I have to feel that I was third in that race. He lost his case in CAS, so it should be mine.”
Kolobnev said he has a bitter taste from his Beijing experience. First, he was a late inclusion in the Russian national team despite having consistent results in one-day races and international competition, including a silver medal at the 2007 road worlds.
Then he said he made a mistake by racing for the win at Beijing rather than riding for an Olympic medal, which would have been Russia’s first road medal since professionals began participating in the Games.
And once it was announced Rebellin tested positive, Kolobnev said it’s been a long waiting game.
“This is not normal to wait so long. The system doesn’t work. If they check, they should make it at the time. They should do it quicker. Honestly, this will not change my life. What they did will not benefit anyone,” he said. “There should be some sort of communication about changing the classification of the race and finally I will get my medal.”
Fabian Cancellara (SWI) took third in the Olympic race and can also expect to swap his bronze medal for silver.