Katusha won’t offer Alexander Kolobnev a contract for 2012

Katusha has declined to extend Alexander Kolobnev's contract for 2012 following his positive doping test during this year's Tour de France.

2011 Amstel Gold Race, Alexander Kolobnev
Alexandr Kolobnev in the 2011 Amstel Gold Race. Photo: Graham Watson |

Katusha has declined to extend Alexander Kolobnev’s contract for 2012 following his positive doping test during this year’s Tour de France and a subsequent mild reprimand from the Russian cycling federation.

Kolobnev, 30, tested positive on July 6 for a masking agent called hydrochlorothiazide, a product used for treating hypertension that triggers the body to remove excess liquid from the system. The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned the diuretic as it could be used as a masking agent to conceal the use of performance-enhancing substances.

Katusha pulled Kolobnev out of the Tour and later announced it was suspending him from the team.

But Kolobnev argued that he did not intentionally take hydrochlorothiazide, which is listed on WADA’s banned list as a “specified substance,” or one that is “more susceptible to a credible, non-doping explanation.”

In October, the Russian cycling federation levied a light punishment against Kolobnev — a $1700 fine and no suspension, only a formal warning.

Reuters reported that the Russian federation opted not to ban Kolobnev after taking into “account extenuating circumstances,” and said they would pass the case to the UCI.

In November, the UCI announced that it would appeal the Russian decision to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told VeloNews that the Russian ruling “didn’t conform with the UCI regulations,” adding that the UCI would seek a two-year ban for the Russian rider.

Kolobnev won bronze in the 2008 Olympic road race and is a two-time silver medalist at the road world championships.