The International Cycling Union has suspended Belarusian rider Kanstantsin Siutsou after he failed a doping test.
Siutsou joined the Bahrain-Merida team last year and won the Tour of Croatia in April. He planned to race in the Giro d’Italia in May but withdrew after fracturing a bone in his neck during training.
The UCI says the 36-year-old Siutsou tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO on July 31 and has been suspended pending a full hearing.
“This news is terribly disappointing,” stated Bahrain-Merida general manager Brent Copeland. “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.”
“Siutsou’s contract expires on December 31st 2018 and Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team had notified the rider during the month of June that his contract would not be renewed,” a team’s statement said.
This positive is the first EPO case involving a WorldTour rider since André Cardoso (Trek-Segafredo) was provisionally suspended ahead of the 2017 Tour de France