European cycling champion Brezhniva banned for doping

MOSCOW (AP) Two-time European track cycling champion Elena Brezhniva of Russia has been banned for four years for doping.

The sanction for Brezhniva, who won European team sprint gold in 2013 and 2014, was backdated from June 22, 2015, the Russian anti-doping agency said in a statement, without specifying the nature of the offense.

Brezhniva failed an out-of-competition test while at home in a case of ''negligence,'' Russia head cycling coach Sergei Kovpanets told the R-Sport agency.

Russia's road and track cycling programs have long been dogged by doping, including a long-running and still unresolved case regarding two-time Olympic bronze medalist Olga Zabelinskaya.

The agency also announced a four-year ban for national kayak champion Dmitry Yekimov, and a two-year ban for Galina Nikiforova, a member of Russia's handball team.

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