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UCI bars three Russians from Rio due to prior doping offenses

The UCI confirmed that three Russian cyclists will be barred from racing the Rio Olympics due to prior doping offenses.

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PARIS (AFP) — Russia’s Olympic committee (ROC) has removed three cyclists from the team heading to the Rio Games while three more, who were potentially implicated in the McLaren report, are under investigation, the UCI announced on Thursday.

The trio withdrawn by the ROC had previously been sanctioned for anti-doping violations, which meant they failed to meet the eligibility criteria put in place for Russian athletes by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The UCI is in the process of identifying relevant rider samples and is in close dialogue with WADA to move forward with these cases immediately,” a UCI statement read.

“It has also passed the names of these three athletes to the IOC in the context of its Executive Board decision.”

Although the UCI’s statement did not confirm the identities of the three riders, under these criteria, Katusha’s Ilnur Zakarin and BePink’s Olga Zabelinskaya would be excluded.

The UCI statement added: “In addition, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) has carried out a careful assessment on the other 11 riders named by the ROC to participate in Rio 2016 cycling events.”

The latest doping scandal to rock Olympic and Russian sport was triggered this month by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren whose report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) detailed an elaborate doping system directed by the Moscow sports ministry and used in more than 30 sports over four years.

The IOC sparked fierce criticism on Sunday when it resisted a blanket ban on the country in favor of allowing individual sports federations to make the call on which Russians can go to Rio.

The UCI decision takes the number of Russian athletes suspended from Rio to 111 of the 387 initially announced by the ROC.