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Former junior TT world champ suspended for missing anti-doping tests

The Russian rider could receive up to a two-year suspension after missing three anti-doping tests in a 12-month period.

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Former junior time trial world champion Aigul Gareeva has been provisionally suspended for a whereabouts violation.

According to a report in Russian news agency TASS, the 20-year-old missed three anti-doping tests in the past 12 months.

Should a decision be made to formally suspend her, Gareeva could be banned from racing for up to two years.

“Aigul was suspended for three flags, she missed three doping tests during the year,” Russian national coach Irakli Abrahamyan said, according to sport website Inside the Games.

“She was not found to have doping, Gareeva was suspended for another violation which was the result of her carelessness, one might say. [Her case] will be heard soon. After which, a decision on her punishment will be made. I hope that Aigul will be disqualified for a minimum period.

“We constantly remind athletes to be responsible in providing information about their location, but we cannot do it every day or fill out everything for them.”

Gareeva made her name on the world scene in 2018 when she beat Vittoria Guazzini and Hannah Ludwig to win the European junior road race title. She then won the junior TT title at the Yorkshire worlds in 2019, beating Shirin van Anrooij and Elynor Bäckstedt.

In 2020, she was signed by the Cogeas-Mettler-Look team — which is set to race in the WorldTour this season under the name Roland Cogeas Edelweiss. She finished 12th overall in the youth classification at that year’s Giro d’Italia Donne.

Gareeva only contested 20 race days in 2021 and last competed at the Russian national championships in June, where she finished fourth in both the time trial and road race.

According to TASS, Gareeva has been suspended since September 17 last year, though she is not named on the UCI’s list of provisional suspensions. How long she will be banned from competition is yet to be decided.

Despite the current suspension, Abrahamyan believes that Gareeva is a future Olympian for Russia.

“We don’t forget about her, she trains,” he said. “Unfortunately, for the period of her suspension, Gareeva is deprived of the right to compete.”