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Friday 21, Nov 2014

  Astana Hit By Another Doping Scandal

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Astana Hit By Another Doping Scandal

UCI Continental Team Astana Kazakh rider Victor Okishev has tested positive for a banned substance. Okishev, who rides for Astana’s reserve team, failed a test for anabolic steroids during the Asian championships last May. The 20-year-old from Kazakhstan has been provisionally suspended from competition because of the positive test.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced Victor Okishev’s sample gave an Adverse Analytical Finding of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids in a sample collected at the Asian Cycling Championships on 29 May 2014. In a statement, the UCI said the rider has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample.

Okishev is the second member of the Astana reserve team to be suspended. Last month, Ilya Davidenok was banned for testing positive for steroids during the Tour de l’Avenir in August. In October this year, brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), which promotes the count of red blood cells in the body. Valentin failed an anti-doping test on August 11 while Maxim failed the test on August 1. Maxim Iglinskiy was part of the Tour de France line-up of Team Astana that saw the team’s Vincenzo Nibali take the overall victory.

Nibali was furious to learn of the doping positives and recently remarked that Astana suffers due to its past, for things that happened in another era. He remarked Vinokourov wasn’t even the manager when the team signed Jakob Fuglsang, Fabio Aru, and him, precisely with the objective of changing the image of the team and earning some credibility. The three-time grand tour winner added the sponsors in Kazakhstan are very angry with the Iglinskiy brothers, and he strongly believes that our sport is cleaner today compared to other times in cycling.

The Astana team is run by Alexandre Vinokourov, controversial former rider, who was banned for blood doping in 2007-2009. Vinokourov is presently under investigation for alleged race fixing and bribery.

Team Astana is a member of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible (Movement for Credible Cycling or MPCC) that enforces stricter anti-doping rules than the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). In accordance with the MPCC rules, Astana suspended itself for the season-ending Tour of Beijing last month as it had two doping cases in the team in the past 12 months.

On November 6, the team appeared at a UCI hearing in Geneva and a decision on its future for the next season is expected to be out in the next two weeks. The UCI’s License Commission is deciding whether or not to refuse Team Astana a license to race next year, or to attach conditions to their license.

Team Astana is facing legal complications from every corner. Recently, Astana rider Lieuwe Westra was caught by police on radar after he was found driving at 189 kilometers per hour (118mph) in the northern part of the Netherlands. Westra finished second in the Paris-Nice stage race in 2012 riding for Vacansoleil. He joined Astana this year to help Vincenzo Nibali win the Tour de France.

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Wednesday 22, Oct 2014

  Jakob Fuglsang May Leave Astana

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Jakob Fuglsang May Leave Astana

Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang has hinted that he may leave Team Astana if the professional road bicycle racing team sponsored by the Samruk-Kazyna loses WorldTour licence over doping cases.

Fuglsang was making this comment after three of his Astana teammates were announced as having tested positive in the past five and a half weeks. The Danish rider remarked such incidents are not good for his reputation and added such events are also not good of what people think about him. Fuglsang remarked he does not want anything to do with doping, and so we must hope that everything will be under control from now on and there will be no more cases and also added that there are no more on the team, who are trying to cheat the system.

On September 10, it was confirmed by the world governing body of cycling that Team Astana’s rider Valentin Iglinskiy had undergone a doping test and the A sample had revealed traces of Erythropoietin (EPO). Valentin waived the right to have his B sample tested and was fired from the Astana team. In a statement, Team Astana remarked Valentin has admitted to using prohibited substances on his own initiative and independently, without any consultation from the Astana Pro Team staff. The team statement reads in its wish for full transparency, Astana Pro Team has refused to defend a rider who failed to respect the rules and ethics as stipulated in his contract and who has failed to behave in a manner consistent with other riders in his team and within professional cycling.

The 30-year-old is a past winner of stages in races such as the Tour of Qinghai Lake, the Tour of Bulgaria, the Presidential Tour of Turkey and the Tour du Loir et Cher, and took the overall classification in the Tour of Hainan in both 2010 and 2011.

On October 1, it was revealed by the UCI’s list of provisionally suspended riders that Valentin’s elder brother Maxim Iglinskiy had also failed an A sample test for EPO.

Recently, llya Davidenok of Team Astana returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for anabolic androgenic steroids.

After the third positive test, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) said it will ask its License Commission to undertake a full review of the management and anti-doping policies of the Astana Pro Team. The statement reads this follows the serious concerns raised by the fact that two Astana riders, Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy recently tested positive for EPO and the notification this week that llya Davidenok has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for anabolic androgenic steroids in a sample collected at the Tour de l’Avenir on 28th August 2014.

The UCI statement also revealed that IIya Davidenok has ridden from 1st January 2012 to date for Continental Team Astana and since 1st August 2014 has also been a stagiaire with Astana Pro Team and added that the rider has the right to request analysis of the B sample and in accordance with UCI Anti-doping Rules has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the matter and at this stage of the procedure, the UCI will not comment any further on this individual case.

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