Russian professional Alexandr Kolobnev has been offered a new contract with WorldTour team Katusha after being cleared of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Kolobnev tested positive for banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) after stage five of the Tour de France last July and left the race. His contract with Katusha was subsequently not renewed, leaving him without a team for 2012 – until now.
Kolobnev was handed a warning and a fine by the Russian Cycling Federation last year, but not a suspension from competition. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) then appealed to CAS to try and impose a ban, but CAS found in Kolobnev’s favour on March 1.
It was ruled that Kolobnev had tested positive after unwittingly ingesting the banned substance from an over-the-counter medication used to treat a long-term vascular condition.
“I am very happy to receive a proposal to become a part of Katusha Team,” said Kolobnev in a team statement.
“I had a very hard period of time in my life, but I passed it already, its behind me. I thank Russian Cycling Federation and its President Igor Makarov for the big support, was provided me. With the help of Mr Makarov I can ride for Katusha again.”
“I think, I have enough power and motivation to strength the team as in classics race as well as in other races of the season.”
However, the exact date that Kolobnev will return to professional racing has yet to be decided. He is still recovering from a training accident where he collided with a van and required hospital treatment at the end of February.
In December last year, Kolobnev again found himself at the centre of controversy after allegations were made in a Swiss newspaper that he and Alexandre Vinokourov had struck a deal in the final kilometres of Liege-Bastogne-Liege so that the Kazakh could take the win. Both parties denied that any such deal took place.
Kolobnev was runner-up to Cadel Evans in the 2009 Road World Championships. He scored bronze in the 2008 Olympic Games road race. He also has wins in Strade Bianche and a stage of Paris-Nice, both in 2007.
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