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Retired pro Denis Menchov suspended until April 2015 over biological passport irregularities

  • By VeloNews.com
  • Published Jul. 12, 2014
  • Updated Jul. 12, 2014 at 5:15 PM EST
Denis Menchov, at the 2013 Katusha team presentation, at the start of his final year as a professional. Photo by Tim de Waele.

A UCI document summarizing its closed doping cases, published July 10, shows that Russian Denis Menchov, who retired in May 2013, is under suspension until April 2015 for an adverse biological passport finding.

The document also shows that Menchov has been disqualified from his Tour de France results in 2009, 2010, and 2011; he finished second overall, behind Andy Schleck, in 2010.

For reasons not explained, Menchov was not disqualified from his 2009 Giro d’Italia victory.

Menchov is one of four riders named on the document to have been banned for biological passport findings; the others are Leonardo Bertagnoli, Carlos Barredo and Leif Hoste.

Professional since 2000, Menchov rode for four different teams: Banesto, Rabobank, Geox, and Katusha.

A two-time winner of the Vuelta a España, he retired last year, citing knee problems.

Menchov faced serious suspicion for doping throughout his career, but never registered a positive test. His name was mentioned in an exposé centered on the Humanplasma clinic in Austria, and he was accused by the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport of being in contact with the Italian trainer Michele Ferrari, sanctioned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in the U.S. Postal Service case in 2012 and by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in 2002.

At the 2013 Paris-Nice, Menchov denied allegations leveled by ex-Rabobank teammate Michael Rasmussen that he underwent banned blood transfusions at the Austrian blood bank.

Rasmussen testified in a long-running spat over money with his ex-Rabobank team for damages associated with his forced departure while leading the 2007 Tour de France. As part of that hearing, the Danish rider also testified that he shared blood doping practices with Menchov, who was then a Rabobank teammate.

Menchov categorically denied the allegations.

“No, it’s not true,” he said when asked if he had blood doped. “I don’t have any comments about doping.”

In May 2013, after Menchov’s retirement had been announced, website VeloNation asked the UCI if Menchov had been suspended for a doping violation.

“Currently there is no disciplinary procedure open on the basis of the biological passport,” UCI communications manager Devra Pitt Gétaz said at the time.

On Saturday, the governing body released the following statement:

“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that it has imposed a 2-year ban on Russian rider Denis Menchov as a result of anti-doping rule violations based on his Athlete Biological Passport. The rider is declared ineligible until 9 April 2015 and is disqualified from the Tour de France 2009, 2010 and 2012, competitions during which abnormalities were clearly identified. The proceedings were initiated in 2013. The rider has exercised his procedural rights and accepted a proposal of sanction in accordance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules. WADA and RUSADA have been duly informed and the sanction published on the UCI list of doping sanctions.

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