Team Katusha met yesterday between the Ardennes Classics in Belgium to discuss the consequences of Denis Galimzyanov's failed doping test and EPO use. Team Manager Hans-Michael Holczer expressed frustration about the case, nine months after taking over the Russian team and four years after his former team Gerolsteiner disbanded.
Holczer told Cycling Weekly on Wednesday, "The more you do, the bigger the ways they find to go around" the rules.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced on Monday Galimzyanov failed an out-of-competition doping test for blood booster EPO in March.
"When I heard it, I called him 10 minutes later and he admitted everything immediately," Holczer continued. "I think it's the only way to deal with things like they are, to deal open with it."
The Russian sprinter is at home in a hospital recovering from a crash in the Circuit de la Sarthe. Doctors thought that at first they have to remove a kidney. Galimzyanov wrote a letter from the hospital, admitted guilt and said that he acted alone.
It's an uncomfortable situation for Holczer since it associates his name again with doping. While head of Gerolsteiner, Davide Rebellin, Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl failed tests for EPO. He said at the time and told Cycling Weekly that he had nothing to do with the cases.
"I did all I could at Gerolsteiner, I did everything... You'd have to be an idiot to sue Schumacher if you somehow had involvement."
Movement in Holczer's lawsuit should happen in the coming month, but he has his mind on Katusha. The team was already hit with a high-profile doping case last year at the Tour de France before Holczer took over Andrei Tchmil's spot.
Alexandr Kolobnev tested positive for banned diuretic HCT and was booted out of the race. In March, the sport's high court, CAS upheld the Russian federation's ruling that essentially cleared him. Katusha rehired him in last month.
Holczer and the team's new staff, including Valerio Piva and Erik Zabel, want to direct the team down the right path. They want a 'clean team' feeling that's already associated with teams like Sky.
He said that he's looking for possible internal problems. "It takes time," he added. "At the moment, I can't see any sign that there's something".
Galimzyanov admits to taking EPO
Galimzyanov tests positive for EPO
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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