Russian rider and 2019 world junior time trial champion Aigul Gareeva has been provisionally suspended from cycling after missing three anti-doping tests in the past year.
Head coach of Russia's national cycling team, Irakli Abrahamyan, revealed Gareeva had missed three 'whereabouts' tests over the course of a year, contributing to her suspension.
On whereabouts tests, the International Testing Agency (ITA) states (opens in new tab): "Riders are required to provide complete and accurate whereabouts information for each day of the quarter to enable any Anti-Doping Organisation (ADO) to locate the rider for testing, including but not limited to the 60-minute time slot period."
The ITA also makes clear that missing three tests will result in a ban from competition for 12 to 24 months.
Due to the nature of Gareeva's suspension though, Abrahamyan is hoping for a lenient decision.
Inside the Games reported that Abrahamyan said: "She was not found to have been doping. Gareeva was suspended for another violation which was the result of her carelessness.
“[Her case] will be heard soon after which a decision on her punishment will be made. I hope that Aigul will be disqualified for a minimum period.”
According to Russian news agency TASS, Gareeva has been provisionally suspended since September 17, 2021, though she is not named on the UCI’s list of provisional suspensions. She last raced at the Russian National Championships road race in June 2021, finishing fourth.
In 2018, as a 16-year-old, Gareeva announced herself on the cycling scene, winning the road race at the UEC European Junior Road Championships by over six minutes.
She then won the U19 women's time trial in Yorkshire a year later at the UCI Junior Road World Championships, raising her profile considerably within the sport. In 2019 she also triumphed in both the time trial and the road race at the National Junior Road Championships in her home country.
She then joined a Russian Continental team, Cogeas-Mettler-Look, at the beginning of 2020 due to her impressive performances in the junior categories, and she spent two years there. Upon her contract expiring at the end of 2021, she left the team.
The team, now called Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad, will make the step up to the Women's WorldTour while racing on a Swiss license from this year.
Gareeva, currently without a team, awaits news on her suspension.
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