Katusha have avoided a suspension, the UCI has announced ©Getty Images

Russian cycling outfit Katusha have avoided a suspension, despite two of its riders failing drugs tests within 12 months.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed the decision today after referring the WorldTour team to their Disciplinary Commission.

It followed Russian rider Eduard Vorganov being provisionally suspended for a doping violation last Friday (February 5).

He tested positive for meldonium, a hormone and metabolic modulator, during an out of competition test on January 14 with adjudication of his case continuing. 

His failure came after Italian Luca Paolini was suspended on July 10 following a positive test for cocaine during the Tour de France, meaning the team risked a suspension of between 15 and 45 days.

The Disciplinary Commission, however, has ruled that conditions for this punishment were not met, due to Paolini's cocaine use being recreational and not a bid to improve performance.

Katusha is owned by Russian businessman Igor Makarov, a member of the UCI Management Committee and who was a major backer of Brian Cookson's campaign to become UCI President in 2013.

Luca Paolini's cocaine use was deemed to be recreational
Luca Paolini's cocaine use was deemed to be recreational ©Getty Images

"With regard to the [Paolini case, it has been] established that the rider's taking of cocaine was not related to an intention to influence sporting performance but was rather taken on a 'recreational' basis," a UCI ruling read

“In this context, applying a suspension under article 7.12.1 when one of the two cases of Adverse Analytical Finding relates to [the use of] a social drug cannot be reconciled with the aim of the article.

"Even if, strictly speaking, such a case falls within the application of the anti-doping rules for the rider concerned, the imposition of negative consequences for the whole team would be inappropriate and disproportionate.

"It is understood that the intention of the article is to impose negative consequences on teams that lack control of doping for sporting purposes by their athletes, or if even worse scenarios exist, and/or if teams are not doing enough to fight such doping.

“The President of the Commission has expressed that he could share the view that it would be disproportionate to suspend a team on the basis that one of its members [uses] a social drug, the consumption of which is not related to sporting performance."

Paolini, who is currently the subject of a UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal, admitted cocaine and sleeping pill use last year.

Any ban would likely end the career of the 39-year-old, who boasts stage wins at both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.

Despite Vorganov's failure, and those of other Russian cyclists, the country's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko claimed yesterday that there are "no problems whatsoever" within Russian cycling.