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UCI Suspends Two-Time Olympian Cyclist

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Blaza Klemencic of Slovenia has been provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) from competition after a sample she gave in 2012 tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO).

Blaza Klemencic

The Two-time Olympian and mountain biker, who competed at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and in London Olympic Games, received the suspension following the reanalysis of a sample taken on March 27. The 35-year-old Klemencic finished third in the cross-country event at the recent European Mountain Bike Championships in Singen, Germany. The Slovenian won the 2004 European Marathon Championships title. The 35-year-old Slovenian MTB rider also got medaled at the 2004 and 2005 MTB World Championships. Klemencic won the silver medal at the 2014 MTB European Championships cross country race.

UCI made this announcement that follows a similar suspension handed out to Italy’s Giampaolo Caruso after his 2012 sample was found to have also contained Erythropoietin. The sample in question of the Katusha rider was taken in March 2012, in an out-of-competition test between Paris-Nice and the Tour of the Basque Country. Caruso has the right to request a test on his “B” sample.

The list of provisional suspensions also included Russian Alexey Shmidt. A sample from Shmidt from November 2011 tested positive for Erythropoietin.

A statement from the UCI reads the world governing body of cycling has established a Storage and Reanalysis Strategy as per the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI ADR. The statement also reads the strategy, implemented by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), provides that samples from the leaders of the Grand Tours, UCI World Championships and general rankings of all cycling disciplines will be stored for potential retesting. It was also disclosed that other samples, based on risk assessment carried out by the CADF, laboratory recommendations, Athlete Biological Passport data, new detection methods and scientific developments, will also be retained for retesting and the standard time of storage and further reanalysis under this strategy is up to 10 years.

Few months back, Katusha rider Luca Paolini tested positive for cocaine on the Tour de France. The 38-year-old Paolini won one stage on the Giro d'Italia in 2013, another one on the Vuelta in 2006, and won the Ghent-Wevelgem classic this year. Paolini was one of the lieutenants of top sprinter Alexander Kristoff of Norway.

In a statement, the UCI said the Katusha team does not risk suspension as the sample of Caruso came from 2012. Therefore, the cycling's governing body cannot retroactively apply a regulation that was only introduced this year. The UCI said in a statement this is based on the non-retroactivity of law principle, which is enshrined in the World Anti-Doping Code (25.2). According to the Code an Anti-doping Rule Violation (ADRV) which occurred prior to 01.01.2015 shall be governed by the substantive Anti-Doping Rule (ADR) in effect at the time the alleged ADRV occurred. The B sample is yet to be tested in both cases.

Team Katusha is a member of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC) and was free to race at this year's Vuelta a España.

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Albert Wolfgang is a professional medical writer with over 20 years of experience. He hold multiple personal training certifications, including the coveted NASM and AFAA certificates. He graduated with honors with a B.S. and M.S. in biochemistry with a minor in physical studies. Albert and his team have trained over 100 IFBB professional bodybuilders, including Hollywood stars and many up and coming fitness stars.

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