Astana Feeder Squad Suspended By Alexander Vinokourov

Team Astana manager Alexander Vinokourov has reportedly provisionally suspended the Astana Continental Team. This step was taken after a third rider from its ranks failed anti-doping controls.

In August, rider Artur Fedosseyev tested positive on a sample taken at the Tour de l’Ain, while Victor Okishev and Ilya Davidenok both shown to have used anabolic androgenic steroids from samples taken at races in May and August, respectively.

Vinokourov seems to have used his influence to have the Astana feeder squad suspended despite the fact that he is not the manager of the continental squad. Vinokourov remarked people have to understand that Astana Continental Team has nothing to do with the Astana WorldTour team.

Kairat Kelimbetov, President of the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation, resigned and was replaced by Darkan Mangeldiev, a close friend of Alexander Vinokourov. In a statement, Team Astana said the managing board of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation has decided to suspend the activity of the Astana Continental Team while an internal investigation into doping cases is carried out and added Dmitri Sedoun, the general manager of Astana Continental team, has been dismissed from his position.

Vinokourov remarked the young riders are crazy if they still haven’t understood that there is no place for doping in cycling. The Astana general manager said he wants the provisional suspension to be a signal, a blast in their ear of our foundation. Vinokourov added people must understand that they have nothing to do with us. The only thing they have in common is the jersey and the name and added there is no problem for the license and remarked we have given all the information that we have been asked about.

Recently, Team Astana star rider Vincenzo Nibali said the four idiots (Iglinskiy brothers, who both popped for EPO, and Victor Okishev and Ilya Davidenok) have nothing to do with him. Nibali, winner of the Tour de France 2014 title, staunchly defended his team’s track record. Nibali expressed confidence that the team would be riding in the WorldTour next year after the license committee hearing.

Kazakh Cycling Federation (KCF) president Kairat Kelimbetov said the body, in conjunction with the Astana Pro Team management, will carry out a thorough investigation of the doping cases in the Continental team. Kelimbetov added our strategic policy is for clean Kazakhstan cycling and he can assure all that the investigation will be organized in full accordance with the UCI rules and its outcome to be announced in due course.

UCI president Brian Cookson said its four-member License Commission is presently reviewing the situation and license of Team Astana. Cookson remarked it is safe to say that everyone in the cycling world is very disappointed by this turn of events. The UCI President added but if we assume that there have been three cases [now five], that’s something that’s obviously very, very serious, and that’s why we’ve referred it to the licensing commission, asking them to look into all the issues around that and make recommendations as to what impact these issues should have on the license of Astana.

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