Anastasia Voynova is one of two Russian Olympic medallists to have been blocked from returning by the UCI ©Getty Images

Russian Olympic medallists Anastasia Voynova and Maria Novolodskaya have been blocked from returning to competition by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

The UCI ruled last month that Russian and Belarusian cyclists will be eligible to compete as individual neutral athletes from today, if they meet certain criteria.

Riders are not allowed to return if they have shown support to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on social media or in interviews, or if they have been part of the military.

They will also be barred if they have taken part in pro-war demonstrations or displayed the "Z" symbol which shows support for the invasion.

As well as the two Olympians, Paralympic cyclist Alexey Obydennov has also been blocked.

But Gleb Syritsa and Alexei Medvedev have both been cleared to return to competition.

Maria Novolodskaya won a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Maria Novolodskaya won a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

It means they are in line to compete at the UCI Cycling World Championships - where all disciplines will be held together in the same place for the first time - in Glasgow in August.

Thirty-year-old Voynova won Olympic silver on the track in the team sprint at Rio 2016, alongside Daria Shmeleva.

The pair teamed up again to win bronze in the same event at Tokyo 2020.

Voynova has also won four world titles, two in the team sprint and two in the 500 metres time trial.

She was a double gold medallist at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, winning the sprint and team sprint titles.

Novolodskaya, who has competed on road and track, won bronze in the madison at Tokyo 2020, partnering Gulnaz Khatuntseva.

The 23-year-old was also third in the same event at the European Games in Minsk.

Obydennov rode at the London 2012 Paralympics and is a former world record holder in the men's individual pursuit C3. 

Twenty-three-year-old Syritsa won team pursuit gold in Minsk while Medvedev competes in mountain bike.

Despite allowing the possibility of individual riders from Russia and Belarus, the UCI has maintained a ban on national teams.

Anastasia Voynova, right, has won two Olympic medals alongside Daria Shmeleva ©Getty Images
Anastasia Voynova, right, has won two Olympic medals alongside Daria Shmeleva ©Getty Images

It updated its stance after an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board recommendation in March, which said that individual Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed to return to competition, if they are not openly in support of the invasion of Ukraine or affiliated to the military.

This rolled back the original IOC stance after Vladimir Putin launched his invasion in February 2022, which called for an outright ban.

The UCI has donated CHF100,000 (£89,000/$112,000/€101,000) to financially support the Ukrainian Cycling Federation and its athletes, it said.

It has also pledged to host Ukrainian cyclists aiming to participate at the Paris 2024 Olympics at its World Cycling Centre in Aigle in Switzerland.