Olympics-Russian cyclist Vlasov declines to compete in Paris despite IOC approval

  • Cycling
  • Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: Cycling - Giro d'Italia - Stage 9 - Savignano sul Rubicone to Cesena Tudor ITT - Italy - May 14, 2023 BORA – hansgrohe's Aleksandr Vlasov in action during the individual time trial REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/File Photo

(Reuters) -Russian cyclist Aleksandr Vlasov has declined to take part in the Paris Olympics despite getting approval to compete as a neutral, the Russian Cycling Federation (BCP) said on Thursday.

Russian and Belarusian athletes can only participate as neutrals -- without flags, anthems or any role in the opening parade -- because of the war in Ukraine, which Russia call a 'special military operation'.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had cleared the first batch of Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete, with Vlasov among a group of 25, but the 28-year-old has withdrawn from the Games.

"Vlasov declined to take part in the Olympics, the profile of the Paris track does not suit him," BCP President Vyacheslav Yekimov told the state news agency TASS.

"And this athlete's calendar is very busy."

Vlasov has raced for UCI WorldTeam Bora–Hansgrohe since 2022 after leaving Astana. He won the Tour de Romandie and Tour of Valencia in 2022.

Yekimov, however, said cyclists Tamara Dronova and Alena Ivanchenko, who were also confirmed as eligible and invited to compete in Paris by the IOC, would take part at the Games.

Reuters has contacted the BCP for comment.

The Paris Olympics runs from July 26 to Aug. 11.

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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