(Reuters) - Katusha has provisionally suspended Spanish rider Angel Vicioso for misleading his cycling team over his non-appearance at a high-profile doping trial in his home country, the Russian outfit said on Wednesday.
“As of now Vicioso is suspended from all competitions,” a Katusha spokesman told Reuters.
The 35-year-old is one of several world-class athletes being linked to Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who is currently on trial for allegedly masterminding a doping ring.
“He told us he had settled his case but it turned out that he didn’t tell us the truth,” Katusha general manager Vyacheslav Ekimov was quoted as saying by local outlet R-Sport.
Vicioso was originally supposed to testify in person in court in Madrid last week. However, Spanish media reported that he sent a doctor’s note saying he had back problems so the court rescheduled his testimony for this Friday.
The Spaniard is due to appear by a video link from the town of Lleida in Catalonia. The judge said on Tuesday that Vicioso would be forced to appear if he did not do it on his own.
Last week, Katusha won the right to compete on the elite World Tour this year following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
In December, cycling’s world governing body UCI rejected their application to compete in the top flight because of the team’s doping record over the past four years.
“We want to cooperate with the UCI in every possible way, therefore such actions by Vicioso just discredits our image,” said Ekimov.
Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov, additional reporting by Iain Rogers in Madrid; editing by Justin Palmer