UCI bans Russian and Belarusian teams and events in those countries

Cycling news: Darren Rafferty and Archie Ryan begin 2022 season in Croatia

The UCI, cycling’s governing body, has announced that it is suspending all Russian and Belarusian teams from competition, and shelving all UCI races organised in those countries. It said it “firmly condemns the aggression of the Russian and Belarusian governments and their non-respect of the Olympic Truce,” and said it wished to see a return to peace as soon as possible.

However, in contrast to an IOC recommendation, it said it would not block athletes from those two countries from competing. It said they could race once they were doing so as part of non-Russian and non-Belarusian teams, or as individuals, and once they did so in a neutral capacity. This requires competitors and organisers to avoid any reference to the two countries, including the use of emblems, flags and national champions’ jerseys.

The UCI has also abstained from a ban on members of UCI bodies and commissions, saying that they could continue to serve as long as they are “not directly implicated in the violation of the Olympic Truce”. The UCI said that this was consistent with the IOC’s position.

Russian oligarch Igor Makarov is part of the UCI’s board. The founder of the Itera Oil and Gas Company and the Areti International Group was one of 210 Russian senior political figures and oligarchs who appeared on a list released by the US Treasury Department in recent days, as was former WorldTour team owner Oleg Tinkov. However, neither have been named as part of the initial sanctions.

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Meanwhile, promising young Irish riders Darren Rafferty and Archie Ryan got their 2022 seasons underway in Croatia on Wednesday, competing in the 1.2-ranked Umag Trophy event.

Rafferty was making his debut with the highly-regarded Hagens Berman Axeon squad, having signed for them last autumn. The 18-year-old had a storming season last year, taking a number of race victories in France, netting fourth in the European junior time-trial championship and dominating both the junior national road-race and time-trial championships.

He finished in the main bunch in the race, one second behind winner Daniel Auer (WSA KTM Graz p/b Leomo). Rafferty placed 32nd while fellow Irishman Archie Ryan also finished in the peloton, rolling across the line in 66th. He said before the event that he had been asked to ride for his team-mates in the race, and would do so in two further events this month.

“I am doing three flat one-day races, so I won’t be challenging,” the specialist climber said. “I will be doing a lot of work for the boys, which I love doing anyway. That’s the way they are easing me into it.”

Ryan is with the Jumbo-Visma Academy team, a development squad attached to the Jumbo-Visma WorldTour team. Wednesday’s race was his first in almost a year. He missed the majority of last season due to a cruciate ligament problem, but has since recovered from the injury.

UMAG TROPHY, CROATIA (1.2)

Umag to Umag: 1 Daniel Auer (WSA KTM Graz p/b Leomo) 154 kilometres in 3:27.12, 2 T Barta (ATT Investments) at 1 sec, 3 D Rajovic (Team Corratec), 4 A Oka (EF Education-NIPPO Development), 5 B Rudyk (Santic-Wibatech) all same time

Irish: 32 D Rafferty (Hagens Berman Axeon), 66 A Ryan (Jumbo-Visma Development Team) both same time.