Cycling - Russians blast UCI over Katusha axe

The Russian Cycling Federation has criticised the UCI for dropping Katusha, team of world number one Joaquim Rodriguez, from the sport's top flight.

On Monday, the UCI announced Katusha's application for World Tour status in 2013 had been rejected but gave no explanation as to why the Russian team ranked second in this year's standings were not granted an automatic spot for next season's leading races.

And with no official explanation having been given, the Russian Cycling Federation has published a fiercely critical statement complaining that the UCI's action is "completely discriminating", and threatening legal action.

"The absence of the World Tour professional license for Katusha Team will lead to a reduction of chances ofRussiato perform and win in competitions of the highest level," the statement reads.

"This will lead to a decrease of popularity of cycling as a sport and consequently to decrease of cyclists quantity in Russia. This is exactly the opposite to what the Russian Cycling Federation headed by its president Igor Makarov have been fighting for for two years.

"The total silence from the UCI and absence of reasons for the Team Katusha 2013 professional license refusal completely undermines the image of the UCI, whose activity is supposed to be aimed at the development and promotion of cycling in the world, important part of which is the Russian professional cycling team Katusha.

"The Russian Cycling Federation considers the actions of UCI regarding the concealment of team license refusal reasons completely discriminating and will defend the interests of the team meaning Russian cycling in general."