Withdrawn Kolobnev denies doping

Russian cyclist Alexandr Kolobnev

Kolobnev now faces the prospect of a suspension

Russia’s Alexandr Kolobnev has denied any wrongdoing after testing positive for banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide on the Tour de France.

The 30-year-old, who has twice won world road race silver and an Olympic bronze in 2008, is the first rider to fail a doping test in the 2011 race.

“I do not know where it comes from,” said Kolobnev of his failed urine test.

He has been withdrawn from the event by his Katusha team and faces the prospect of a ban.

Katusha claimed Kolobnev would be sacked and fined five times his salary if his second sample from Wednesday also tested positive.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, while not being drawn on the specifics of the case, insisted it was evidence of anti-doping agencies collaborating effectively.

“Fighting against doping is extremely complicated but it is much easier when it is done together,” he said.

“Here is a good example of the anti-doping authorities working together.

“The UCI (International Cycling Union) and the AFLD (French National Anti-Doping Agency) are working hand in hand.”

Hydrochlorothiazide is listed as a banned substance because it can also be used to mask other drugs.

However under UCI rules, Kolobnev could have continued to race.

The UCI said in a statement: “The UCI anti-doping rules do not provide for a provisional suspension given the nature of the substance, which is a specified substance.

“However the UCI is confident that his team will take the necessary steps to enable the Tour de France to continue in serenity and to ensure that their rider has the opportunity to properly prepare his defence in particular within the legal timeline, which allows four days for him to have his B sample analysed.”

Kolobnev was 69th in the overall standings after nine stages, 22 minutes and 15 seconds behind leader Thomas Voeckler.

He won a bronze medal in the road race at the 2008 Olympics after being promoted from fourth after second-placed finisher Davide Rebellin failed a drugs test.

Kolobnev won World Championship silver medals behind Paolo Bettini in 2007 and Cadel Evans in 2009.

Article source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/cycling/14116083.stm

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