Tinkoff-Saxo sidelines Roman Kreuziger pending doping inquiry
Tinkoff-Saxo says the UCI is likely to launch a doping inquiry following what it calls irregularities in Kreuziger's biological passport
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Facing doping allegations, Roman Kreuziger has been sidelined by his Tinkoff-Saxo team and will not support Alberto Contador in the Tour de France, management announced on Saturday.
In a statement published on its website, the team said the Union Cycliste Internationale “is likely due to instigate disciplinary proceedings against (Kreuziger) arising from an alleged violation of its anti-doping rules due to abnormalities detected in his biological passport in 2011 and 2012.”
Kreuziger issued his own press release earlier Saturday, denying that he had “taken any forbidden substances or used any forbidden methods” and saying that an independent inquiry concluded that his passport values “were due to causes that were not due to the use of doping substances or methods.”
The UCI’s Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CAFD) alleges that Kreuziger’s blood passport profile showed abnormalities from March to August 2011 and from April 2012 until the end of that year’s Giro d’Italia.
Kreuziger rode for Astana during that time.
UCI first notified Kreuziger in June 2013 that CAFD regarded his data as suspect, and he subsequently informed his team.
“He was adamant that he never used doping methods or substances,” the team’s press release said. “Through our own medical staff and independent verification the team was satisfied that Roman’s blood profile had valid medical and scientific explanations other than the use of doping methods or substances. This was subsequently confirmed by the expert opinions Roman shared with the team.”
In October 2013, Kreuziger provided UCI with two exculpatory medical opinions he had requested, but in May 2014 the governing body informed him that it did not accept his explanation for the passport abnormalities. He followed up with a third opinion arguing that the fluctuations in his profile could not be attributed solely to doping methods and that the conclusions of CAFD’s Experts Panel “had limited scientific supporting evidence.”
Pending further details, Kreuziger is off the Tour team and will not compete in any other events, the team said. He will not be provisionally suspended unless the UCI or the Czech federation so orders. It’s not yet clear who will replace him on the Tour team.
Kreuziger has recorded a string of top-10 finishes so far this season, including third at Tirreno-Adriatico, fifth at Strade Bianche, seventh at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and eighth at the Tour de Suisse, where he finished three minutes down on world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida).
In 2013, Kreuziger admitted to having worked with Michele Ferrari in his first year as a pro, while racing for Liquigas, saying he was unaware that the controversial doctor had been banned. Then, as now, he denied doping.