Astana Pro Team, a professional road bicycle racing team, has expressed a statement in which it has expressed regrets over the doping positives of Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy for Erythropoietin (EPO). The embattled Astana squad invited the Kazakhstani brothers to speak before the UCI’s Cycling Independent Reform Commission.

In a statement, the racing team sponsored by the Samruk-Kazyna said it has self-suspended its participation from the Tour of Beijing and is fully expecting a fine of up to 100,000 Swiss Francs (almost $105,000) from the UCI’s Disciplinary Commission for missing the Tour of Beijing. The Tour of Beijing is the last and one of the least highly regarded WorldTour race of the season. Astana following the protocol of the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible) will be fined by the world governing body of cycling for missing the Tour as it is a WorldTour race and all teams are required to attend under WorldTour regulations.

Under the rules of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), Astana voluntarily suspended itself for eight days from racing and can therefore not take part in the Tour of Beijing.

The team, in a statement, said Astana Pro Team very much regrets that Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy unexpectedly returned adverse analytical findings for EPO, and understands that this unfortunate event has led to concerns over the efficiency of internal measures taken to ensure that riders do not use prohibited substances or methods. It added that Astana Pro Team is conducting an internal investigation, and wishes to reassure the UCI [the International Cycling Union] and general public that preliminary findings demonstrate the events are of an isolated nature, and that no other member of Astana Pro Team knew or took part. The statement also said Astana Pro Team will investigate the events more thoroughly in the following weeks, and will request an audit of its own stringent anti-doping policy to identify whether even stronger measures would be possible and legally enforceable. It also said Astana Pro Team is deeply disappointed that these events have occurred, and reaffirms its absolute zero-tolerance policy towards all incidents of doping and unethical activity.

The Team Astana statement also said Astana Pro Team looks forward to meeting with the UCI to listen to concerns that exist and to address directly any queries that it may have. It also said Astana Pro Team’s General Manager has provided the UCI with a copy of the current version of the anti-doping policy in place within the team, and also informed the UCI of measures adopted immediately to remind all of its riders and staff of their obligations under such anti-doping policy. The statement by the professional road bicycle racing team also said as part of the effort to underline its unwavering commitment to a clean sport, Astana Pro Team has also invited Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy to contact the CIRC (Cycling Independent Reform Commission) and will certainly implement recommendations contained in the CIRC’s report to help all teams in enforcing their own internal anti-doping rules.

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