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Astana chief ponders future in wake of doping scandals, threat of losing ProTour license

Astana chief ponders future in wake of doping scandals, threat of losing ProTour license

Astana manager Marc Biver will decide whether to continue as head of the troubled cycling team within the next week.
The Astana team, which has been hit by several recent doping scandals and could be in danger of losing its ProTour license, said Wednesday that Biver would make a decision "after taking all the parameters into account and in complete agreement with the Kazakh Cycling Federation."
The entire team was withdrawn from the Tour de France after Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for a blood transfusion after his victory in the 13th stage time trial. On Aug. 1, Andrej Kashechkin also tested positive for a blood transfusion during unannounced controls in Belek, Turkey, while Matthias Kessler was fired after his "A" and "B" samples from a test in April showed elevated testosterone levels.
Biver was summoned by UCI ProTour council president Vittorio Adorni last Thursday to explain his team's three recent doping cases.
Following a monthlong self-imposed suspension, Astana cyclists will resume ProTour racing on Sept. 2 at the Grand Prix Ouest de France Plouay. Astana was initially expected to make its comeback at the Spanish Vuelta on Sept. 1, but organizers in Spain withdrew the team's invitation because of the doping incidents.
Previously known as Liberty Seguros, the Switzerland-based team returned to the Tour this year after being banned in 2006 when several of its riders were linked to Operation Puerto, a Spanish doping investigation that has implicated more than 50 riders.
Astana's ProTour racing license could be in jeopardy again since the current one was only granted by the International Cycling Union "due to the lack of information from the Spanish authorities and the extremely confusing state of affairs with Operation Puerto."


Updated : 2021-05-15 07:34 GMT+08:00