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Russian cyclist Brezhniva decides on comeback after 4-year disqualification

She has been actively training for the Russian Championships in St. Petersburg in August, according to a sports official
Yelena Brezhniva EPA/VALDA KALNINA
Yelena Brezhniva
© EPA/VALDA KALNINA

MOSCOW, July 4. /TASS/. Russia’s two-time European champion in track cycling Yelena Brezhniva decided to return to sports after she had served a lengthy suspension for anti-doping violations, Valery Grinkovsky, the head of the Tula Region Cycling Federation, told TASS on Thursday.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) announced in February 2016 that Brezhniva was found guilty of violating anti-doping regulations after her doping sample tested positive for a banned performance enhancing drug. She was slapped with a four-year disqualification, effective from June 22, 2015.

After Brezhniva was informed about the lengthy suspension, she announced a decision to wrap up her sports career.

"Brezhniva was overemotional at the moment of making the decision," Grinkovsky told TASS. "Everything is different now, Brezhniva made a decision to return to sports and last year she resumed active trainings."

Grinkovsky added that the 29-year-old cyclist, whose disqualification term expired on June 21, was most likely to compete at the Russian Championships in St. Petersburg in August.

"She has now the right to compete in any tournament and to train for the Russian Championships in St. Petersburg, scheduled for August 4-8," the official said. "She and her coach made a decision to change the race format from sprint to tempo race."

"As we say in cycling sports it is very important for Yelena to catch the stream," Grinkovsky continued. "Her results at the upcoming Russian Championships will define the athlete's perspectives for the future. I can say that currently she is in quite a good physical shape."

Brezhniva was on the country’s national team since 2008 until her suspension. She is two-time European champion in team sprint, winning the titles in 2013 and 2014.