Top cyclist Vladimir Gusev has been omitted from the Russian Olympic squad by his country's federation following his recent sacking from the professional road team Astana.
Kazakhstan-backed Astana sacked Gusev last week after their internal doping controls, run by Dr Rasmus Damsgaard, revealed "irregular blood values".
Russian cycling federation chief Alexander Gusyatnikov said Tuesday: "Together with the executive council of the Russian Olympic Committee we decided not to include Gusev in the Olympic team. Denis Menchov will replace Gusev and will compete in Beijing in the time trial race together with Vladimir Karpets."
Menchov, Rabobank's Tour captain and a two-time Tour of Spain champion who can climb and time trial, was recently a contender at the Tour de France where he finished in fifth place overall. He will be a medal contender in the time trial in Beijing.
A recent statement by Astana admitted that Gusev had not tested positive, but suggested there was suspicion of doping.
"Though his results do not indicate the use of forbidden substances, Vladimir's values exceeded the normal parameters established by Dr. Damsgaard and were not compliant with the strict agreement signed by all thirty riders," said the statement.
"Vladimir Gusev has been officially notified that he no longer represents Team Astana. Our Kazakh sponsors have also been made aware of this decision and are fully supportive."
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008