Russian super-team Katusha has not renewed the contract of Alexandr Kolobnev, who failed an anti-doping test during this year’s Tour de France.
Kolobnev tested positive for banned substance hydrochlorothiazide from a urine sample taken during stage five on July 6. He was subsequently fined and given a warning by the Russian cycling federation, but was not given a suspension from competition.
“Kolobnev’s contract had expired and the team’s management has decided not to extend it for another season,” Katusha’s Natalia Belousova told the Reuters news agency.
Kolobnev joined Katusha at the start of the 2010 season on a two-year contract, having previously ridden for CSC/Saxo Bank and Rabobank. His Katusha contract ends on December 31 2011.
Hans-Michael Holczer takes over as general manager of Katusha in 2012, and is reported to want Kolobnev out of the team due to the uncertainty surrounding his positive test.
Cycle sport’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has taken Kolobnev’s case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The UCI wants to overturn the Russian cycling federation’s decision not to suspend him from competition.
Kolobnev is also involved in the allegations that he accepted money from Alexandre Vinokourov to allow the Kazakh rider to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2010.
Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic that can be used as a masking agent to hide the use of other banned performance-enhancing substances.
Last week, Katusha announced that it had signed Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana winner Denis Menchov from the defunct Geox-TMC squad.