CAS blocks Katusha bid for interim top-tier status

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- World sport's highest court has denied Russian cycling team Katusha's urgent request for temporary top-tier status this season.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says the main appeal hearing against the International Cycling Union "will be scheduled shortly in order for a final decision to be issued as quickly as possible."

Katusha is challenging a UCI license commission ruling to deny the team's application for 2013 World Tour registration.

The 18 World Tour teams get automatic invitations to big races, including the Tour Down Under that kicks off in Australia on Jan. 22.

Katusha's riders include the 2012 rankings leader, Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain.

The team's general manager is Viatcheslav Ekimov, the three-time Olympic champion and a longtime teammate of Lance Armstrong with the U.S. Postal Service team.