'Absolutely unacceptable': Katusha pull sprinter from Giro d'Italia after time trial drafting

Katusha say the time penalty given to Alexey Tsatevich for drafting Tobias Ludvigsson on the Giro d'Italia time trial was not enough and withdraw him from the race

A still from the live footage of Sunday's time trial

Katusha have taken the bold step to remove Alexey Tsatevich from the Giro d'Italia after the Russian sprinter was fined and given a time penalty for drafting on the stage nine time trial.

Tsatevich was forced to hand over 100 Swiss Francs and was given a penalty of 6-48, but the Russian team did not think this was a strong enough penalty and withdrew the rider from the race.

The 26-year-old Volta a Catalunya stage winner was filmed by television cameras following closely behind Giant-Alpecin's Tobias Ludvigsson for a significant amount of time, having been passed by the Swede.

Tom Dumoulin's Giant Trinity TT bike

Katusha sports director Dmitry Konyshev said: "First of all, on behalf of Team Katusha, I would like to apologise for Alexey Tsatevich’s behavior during the time trial. The way Tsatevich rode yesterday’s stage was absolutely unacceptable.

"First of all, he broke the clear rule, known by every professional rider. In addition, he also showed a great lack of respect for his rival, the rider who caught him on the course.

"Moreover, he absolutely ignored the team plan for the day, provided and requested by the sports director. His behavior has a huge and negative impact on the image of cycling in general and Team Katusha in particular.

"Accepting the commissaires penalty was not enough for us; we had to take more severe measures. It is not easy to enter the second week of the race with just 8 riders, but I am convinced we’ve made the right decision."

The penalty moved Tsatevich down to 48th in the standings, but more importantly it will leave general classification contender Ilnur Zakarin with one fewer support riders heading into the second week of the race.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1