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Sharapova joined by 2 Russian cyclists busted for failing meldonium drug tests

Sharapova joined by 2 Russian cyclists busted for failing meldonium drug tests
Track cyclists Anastasia Chulkova and Pavel Yakushevsky are the latest athletes to be embroiled in Russia’s doping scandal, with the pair testing positive for meldonium.

The Russian Cycling Federation has confirmed the news, which increases the number of athletes incriminated in taking the recently banned substance.

Chulkova won the points race at the 2012 World Track Championship, while Yakushevsky is a former European bronze medalist.

They join Eduard Vorganov in testing positive for meldonium, with the road racer failing a test for the substance last month.

Four Russian track-and-field athletes, swimmer Yuliya Efimova and tennis superstar Maria Sharapova have also been caught up in the scandal.

READ MORE: Russian swimmer Yuliya Efimova facing life ban, more sports look to ban meldonium

The Russian Cycling Federation has maintained Chulkova and Yakushevsky’s innocence, claiming the duo stopped using meldonium back in September 2015 - when the World Anti-Doping Agency announced it intended to outlaw the drug.

However, despite the ruling not coming into effect until January 2016, the federation has said the evidence suggests that ‘leftover traces’ of meldonium have been discovered.

The organization did not specify when the samples were taken.

Sharapova looks set to learn her fate in June, with Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpishchev saying her disciplinary hearing could take place then.

The 28-year-old has been suspended for an indefinite period while an investigation into her motives for using meldonium carries on.

Sharapova is facing a possible four-year ban for the positive test, but this may well be reduced should her claim that she was prescribed meldonium by a doctor to aid blood flow is upheld.

READ MORE: Tennis star Sharapova to be ‘provisionally suspended’ after failing drug test

It has also been claimed that Russian water polo player Alexey Bugaychuk has tested positive for meldonium, but this has yet to be officially confirmed.

It is believed that the 27-year-old failed a drugs test at the 2016 Men’s European Water Polo Championship in Serbia in January.