Russian rider Alexandr Kolobnev has been cleared of intentional doping by the Court of Arbitration (CAS) for Sport after failing a drug test at the 2011 Tour de France, and will not be suspended from competition.

CAS heard Kolobnev’s case after the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) appealed against the Russian Cycling Federation’s (FVSR) decision not to suspend Kolobnev. The FVSR imposed a 1500 CHF (Just over £1,000) fine on Kolobnev and gave him a warning, but no suspension. The UCI sought a two-year ban and a heavier fine.

CAS ruled that the presence of banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) in Kolobnev’s system was due to the use of medication for a long-term vascular condition, and not to artifically enhance his cycling performance.

The adjudication panel at CAS heard that Kolobnev had been taking a drug called ‘Natural Kapillyaroprotector’ to treat his condition, which is available over-the-counter in Russia. Tests on the drug showed that it contained HCT.

A CAS statement issued on Wednesday said: “The CAS Panel was satisfied that the use of the product ‘Natural Kapillyaroprotector’ was justified by medical reasons totally unrelated to sport performance: the product, recommended by Kolobnev’s doctor in 2009, had been actually indicated to supplement the treatment of the vascular disease affecting the athlete, and not (as food supplement normally are) to help an athlete recover from physical effort or better prepare for a sporting performance.” 

Despite having no further fine or suspension added to his penalty, CAS ordered Kolobnev to pay the costs of the anti-doping hearing.

Kolobnev tested positive for HCT after stage five of the Tour last July and left the race. It was the only positive test of the event.

Kolobnev has not had his contract renewed with Katusha and is currently without a squad for 2012. He has not raced since leaving the Tour.

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