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Roman Kreuziger's lawyers insist he's innocent as CAS confirms doping charges appeal

UCI looking to have Czech decision to acquit Tinkoff-Saxo rider on biological passport charges overturned

Lawyers acting for Tinkoff-Saxo rider Roman Kreuziger insist he is innocent of doping charges related to his biological passport after the UCI decided to appeal his acquittal by the Czech Olympic Committee to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Cycling’s international governing body and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) announced their intention to appeal against the decision in September by the 28-year-old’s national authorities to clear him.

In a statement issued on Monday, the UCI asked the CAS to ban Kreuziger for between two and four years, and to strip him of results obtained since March 2011.

Those would include his best young rider’s classification victory in that year’s Giro d’Italia, a stage win in the same race 12 months later, and his Amstel Gold Race triumph in 2013.

The UCI has also asked that the rider be fined €770,000.

Kreuziger’s lawyer, Jan Stovicek, said in an open letter addressed to the UCI and released on Tuesday that the appeal had been anticipated.

“However,” he wrote, “the strong arguments remain on our side.”

He maintained that the panel of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, which had determined there were anomalies in the rider’s biological passport, had “decided on the alleged guilt of Roman Kreuziger on the basis of incomplete and insufficient information.”

The rider’s lawyer said his client had a thyroid gland problem, meaning he had to take the substitute hormone, L-Thyroxine, which he claims may have affected the readings.

He also raised questions over the way Kreuziger’s blood samples had been stored, insisting that the handling rendered them invalid.

“We firmly believe that common sense will prevail,” he added.

The period in which those readings were taken coincides with Kreuziger riding for Astana in 2011 and 2012.

The Kazakh team’s licence is currently being reviewed by the UCI’s Licence Commission after three of its riders failed doping controls in recent months.

Tinkoff-Saxo withdrew Kreuziger from its Tour de France line-up days before the Tour de France started in Yorkshire in July when it emerged that there were questions over his biological passport.

He had hoped to return to racing in the Tour de Pologne, but on the eve of that race beginning, the UCI announced it had provisionally suspended him while the case was being considered.

Kreuziger, hoping to race in the Vuelta a Espana and road world championships, appealed to the CAS to have that provisional suspension overturned, but was unsuccessful.

In a statement published on its website on Tuesday, the CAS confirmed it had initiated proceedings following the UCI’s appeal, saying:

In appealing to the CAS, the UCI has requested that the decision issued on 22 September 2014 be set aside and replaced with a new decision sanctioning Mr Kreuziger with a period of ineligibility of between 2 and 4 years. It further requests the disqualification of all competition results achieved from March 2011 until the commencement of the period of ineligibility as well as payment of a fine of EUR 770,000 and costs.

The arbitration procedure is in progress and the CAS will not comment further at this time.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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