PARIS, Dec 11, 2012 (AFP) – Katusha, denied a license to compete in
cycling’s elite tours next year by the sport’s governing body the UCI, is
threatening to challenge the ruling in the courts.
The Russian outfit, who enjoyed a successful season largely thanks to
veteran Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez, spoke out Tuesday 24 hours after being
refused one of the 18 permits to compete on the 2013 World Tour.
“The team’s directors and cyclists are extremely surprised at the absence
of any justification for such a decision,” the team declared in a statement.
“Up to now the team, which features the world’s number one cyclist
(Rodriguez) and which finished the season in second place in the rankings, had
been told that it met all the possible criteria to compete in the elite
Katusha went on to blast the UCI for “a complete violation of ethical
sporting principles” and warned the governing body that it “would defend its
interests by all legal means, including going to court”.
As a result of the UCI’s cold shoulder Katusha must now rely on invitations
from organizers to take part in next season’s major races like the Tours of
France, Italy and Spain.
Last month the Association of Race Organizers warned it would only consider
handing out invitations to teams which, unlike Katusha, had signed up to the
anti-doping charter – the Movement for Credible Cycling.
Aside from sporting performance, the UCI’s Licenses Commission also takes
ethical and financial criteria into account.
“Purito” Rodriguez, 33, claimed victory in the Fleche Wallonne classic as
well as the Tour of Lombardy this year.
The Spaniard also finished second in the Tour of Italy and third in the
Tour of Spain as he claimed top spot in the year-end WorldTour standings.
Russian Denis Menchov, a two-time winner of the Vuelta and 2009 Giro
champion whose name was mentioned in connection with disgraced doctor Michele
Ferrari in October, is another notable member of the Katusha team.