Russian cyclists file lawsuit against WADA after being barred from Rio Olympics

Three of Russia's team pursuit squad sue for damages

Kirill Sveshnikov leads the Russian team pursuit squad at the 2016 World Championships
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Three Russian cyclists who were barred from competing in the Rio Olympics have filed a lawsuit against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Dr Richard McLaren, claiming that they were "unfairly implicated" in allegations of state-sponsored doping.

Kirill Sveshnikov, Dmitry Strakhov and Dmitry Sokolov were due to compete in the team pursuit at the 2016 Olympic Games, but were barred from the event after being implicated in Russian doping in Dr McLaren's report, which found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes had benefited from state-sponsored doping.

Although 16 other Russian riders were allowed to compete in the track events at the Games, Sveshnikov, Strakhov, and Sokolov lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn their exclusion.

>>> How a cyclist who doped to ride an amateur event blew open the Russian drug scandal

None of the three riders were mentioned by name in the McLaren Report, but they are now filing a lawsuit against WADA - which commissioned the report - and Dr McLaren, saying that they "suffered great reputational harm" as a result of the report.

"Together, WADA and Richard McLaren prevented us from reaching our life-long goal of participating in the Rio Olympics, the pinnacle of our sport, and we allege that they wrongly associated our names with cheaters and doping," Sveshnikov said.

The joint lawsuit has been filed at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, with the three riders claiming for damages.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.