AusCycling says Russia and Belarus would be prevented from riding World Championships 'at this stage'

Australia's cycling federation backs IOC's call over Russian and Belarusian athletes following Ukraine invasion

World Championships
(Image credit: Getty Images)

AusCycling, the sport's governing body in Australia, has said that at this stage no Russian or Belarusian national teams would be allowed to compete in the UCI Road World Championships, which are being held in this country in September.

This follows the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been condemned by the international community. On Monday, the International Olympic Committe (IOC) called on international sporting federations and organisers to prevent Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in their events.

Speaking to Cyclingnews on Tuesday, a spokesperson for AusCycling said that they supported this decision, and as a result "at this stage" there would not be Russian or Belarusian teams present at the road World Championships, which are due to take place in Wollongong, New South Wales, this year.

"AusCycling supports the IOC and AOC’s decisions on Russian and Belarusian events and national teams," a spokesperson said.

"We have reviewed our competition schedule and there are no events in either country that our athletes were planning to attend."

"The only domestic event which could involve teams from those nations is the UCI Road World Championships due to be held in Wollongong in September. We will continue to discuss the situation with the UCI and other relevant authorities, but at this stage and consistent with the approach of the IOC, AOC and other Australian sports, no Russian or Belarusian national teams would be permitted to compete."

Last year, six Russians and one Belarusian athlete took part in the men's road race, while one Russian and two Belarusians took part in the women's equivalent. A single Russian, Petr Rikunov, took part in the time trial, and Tamara Dronova-Balabolina (for Russia) and Alena Amialiusik (for Belarus) took part in the women's event.

Rohan Dennis, the Australian Jumbo-Visma rider, took to Instagram to criticise AusCycling's decision. On a story, he posted "imagine banning individual athletes because of where they were born... Congrats AusCycling", along with an emoji of frustration and one of clapping hands.

His former teammate, Pavel Sivakov of Ineos Grenadiers, could be among the riders affected. He wrote on Twitter last week that he's "totally against the war" and that "most Russians only want peace".

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, is yet to respond to the IOC's resolutions. Last week it released a statement deploring "the violation of international law and of Ukraine’s territorial integrity", and called for an "immediate halt to hostilities".

On Tuesday, World Rugby became the latest sporting body to suspend Russia and Belarus from international competition, following the path of FIFA and UEFA, who did so to the country's football clubs on Monday.

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