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Katusha Lifts Competition Ban from Vicioso

16:32 26.02.2013

Vyacheslav Ekimov | Katusha
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MOSCOW, February 26 (R-Sport) – The Katusha cycling team has overturned its suspension of Spanish rider Angel Vicioso after he testified in the so-called Operation Puerto doping case, the team's general manager told R-Sport on Tuesday.

Vicioso was banned last week after he had failed to appear at the hearings in Madrid.

The 35-year-old is among at least three dozen people accused of being in the doping network of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who is currently on trial. Fuentes denies charges of endangering public health.

On Friday, Vicioso appeared via videoconference from the Spanish city of Lleida and acknowledged the fact that he had visited Fuentes in connection with his knee problems in 2004-2006, but denied doping accusations.

“We have decided to return him to the squad on the basis of the documents he provided,” Katusha general manager Vyacheslav Ekimov said.

“He spoke in the court through video conference, answered the questions that the investigators were interested in. We decided that we can’t keep him out of races any more. These explanations satisfied us, so Angel is back into the team.”

Ekimov also vowed the team would follow the course of investigation and take measures over any new revelations regarding Vicioso.

On Thursday, Vicioso is to take part in the 64th edition of Camaiore Grand Prix in Italy.

Operation Puerto is the code name of high-profile case started in 2006 that revealed Fuentes' doping network in cycling, and potentially other sports.

The investigation has led to the suspensions of 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich; 2009 Vuelta a Espana winner Alejandro Valverde; and 2006 and 2010 Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso, among others.

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