16 Feb 2013

Russian cycling team wins appeal to compete at top level

6:03 am on 16 February 2013

The Russian cycling team Katusha has won its appeal to the the Court of Arbitration for Sport to be reinstated in this year's UCI World Tour races.

World cycling's governing body, UCI, had excluded Katusha from the circuit in December, leaving them at the mercy of of the organisers of the major Tours as to whether they are invited to compete.

The CAS initially upheld the ruling in January but have now overturned that decision on appeal.

As a result, the World Tour this season will now feature 19 teams, instead of the usual 18, unless UCI decides to drop one outfit.

The controversial team, who count 2012 World Tour champion Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain and Russia's Denis Menchov in their ranks, is run by Russia's Viatcheslav Ekimov, a former team-mate of the disgraced rider Lance Armstrong.

In November the Association of Race Organisers warned it would only consider handing out invitations to teams which had signed up to the anti-doping charter, the Movement for Credible Cycling.

Katusha had been refused a wildcard entry to this year's Giro d'Italia as they had not signed up for the Movement, but they have since done so as a probationary member.