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Bahrain-Merida drops Kanstantsin Siutsou for AAF

Joe Robinson
5 Sep 2018

Experienced Belarussian has been provisionally suspended after returning AAF for EPO

Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has confirmed that Bahrain-Merida climber Kanstantsin Siutsou returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for EPO. The Belarussian has now been provisionally suspended with the right to request a testing of his B sample. 

The 36-year-old returned the positive in an out-of-competition test on 31st July in a pre-planned test organised by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation.

In a press release, the UCI stated, ‘The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that Belarusian rider Kanstantsin Siutsou was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of Erythropoietin in a sample collected in the scope of an out-of-competition control on 31 July 2018.

'The control was planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI, in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling.'

The UCI has also confirmed that it will not comment any further on the situation currently.

Siustsou's team Bahrain-Merida have also confirmed that they have suspended the rider in 'accordance with our zero-tolerance policy' and have notified the rider that they will not be looking to renew his contract for 2019.

Team general manager, Brent Copeland, also commented on the situation, stating, 'This news is terribly disappointing, we are very severe with any wrongdoing with regards to our internal health code, this behaviour is not accepted by our team and further procedures will be taken against the rider.’ 

Since returning the test, Siutsou has raced only once, the Classica San Sebastien at the beginning of August. Earlier this season, the veteran rider took overall victory at the Tour of Croatia, including the mountaintop stage to the Sveti Jure.

He was then scheduled to race the Giro d'Italia in May but was unable to start following a crash that broke his collarbone while warming up for the Stage 1 time-trial in Jerusalem, Israel.

Siutsou's career as a professional began back in 2001, and before his time at Bahrain-Merida, he rode for some of the top WorldTour teams as a strong domestique.

Most notably, he worked for Team Sky for four seasons between 2012 and 2015, racing six Grand Tours including Chris Froome's 2013 Tour de France victory.

Siutsou also won a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2009 before finishing ninth overall in 2011, both while riding for the HTC-Columbia team.

Image credit: Bahrain-Merida