Russian cycling team Katusha, bitter over their exclusion from the WorldTour list of teams which gives them automatic entry to the major Tours next year, announced on Saturday they would take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The Russian outfit, who enjoyed a successful season largely thanks to veteran Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez who finished the year top of the WorldTour rankings, were left fuming over their exclusion from the final list of 18 teams that was announced by the International Cycling Union (UCI) last Monday.
“Russian team Katusha has filed a lawsuit to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne (CAS) aiming to dispute the decision of the UCI License Commission, who rejected the 2013 World Tour license request of Katusha Team on December, 10, 2012,” said the team in a statement.
“Applying to the CAS became a direct consequence of the policy of isolation, pursued by the UCI License Commission, and was made in strict accordance with all law regulations.”
The team, which is managed by Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov a former team-mate of the disgraced rider Lance Armstrong, had expressed its total surprise on Tuesday in reacting to the news and blasted the UCI for “a complete violation of ethical sporting principles”.
As a result of the UCI’s cold shoulder Katusha must now rely on invitations from organisers to take part in next season’s major races like the Tours of France, Italy and Spain.
Last month the Association of Race Organisers warned it would only consider handing out invitations to teams which, unlike Katusha, had signed up to the anti-doping charter – the Movement for Credible Cycling.
Aside from sporting performance, the UCI’s Licenses Commission also takes ethical and financial criteria into account.
“Purito” Rodriguez, 33, claimed victory in the Fleche Wallonne classic as well as the Tour of Lombardy this year.
The Spaniard also finished second in the Tour of Italy and third in the Tour of Spain.
Russian Denis Menchov, a two-time winner of the Vuelta and 2009 Giro champion whose name was mentioned in connection with disgraced doctor Michele Ferrari in October, is another notable member of the Katusha team.