AIGLE: Two Russian track cyclists who won medals at the Tokyo Olympics were ruled ineligible to race Wednesday for breaching rules monitoring their neutrality during the war on Ukraine.
Anastasiia Voinova and Mariya Novolodskaya cannot race in International Cycling Union (UCI) events from Thursday, the governing body said in a document posted on its website. The world championships are held in August in Glasgow, Scotland.
"This ineligibility will apply for as long as the 'ad hoc rules' regarding Russia and Belarus remain in force," the UCI said in the document without detailing the breaches.
A rules update published May 3 takes effect Thursday and specifies "the strictest neutrality towards the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus at any time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine is required" to race in UCI events.
The UCI can deny neutral status to riders or officials "who are or have been contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military" or who have shown support for the war in interviews or social media posts. Taking part in pro-war demonstrations or displaying the "Z" symbol that is associated with the invasion of Ukraine also should be disqualifying.
At the Olympics held in 2021, Voinova took bronze in the women's team sprint on the track after getting silver in the event at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The 30-year-old racer is also a multiple world champion. Novolodskaya won bronze in the women's madison at Tokyo. She will turn 25 during the 2024 Paris Olympics which she now risks missing.
The International Olympic Committee has asked governing bodies of Paris Olympics sports to look at reintegrating Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials to international events -- though not in team sports and only after they are evaluated for neutral status.
The UCI also ruled ineligible Aleksei Obydennov, who competed at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Two Russian cyclists were ruled eligible to race: Gleb Syritsa and Aleksei Medvedev.