Uci Requests For Licence Commission To Withdraw Astana Licence

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by steve, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. steve

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    Doping controversies

    The team recorded its first doping positive in April, 2007, when Matthias Kessler tested positive for testosterone following a surprise control in Charleroi and later analysis of his B-sample. Later in July, Eddy Mazzoleni, left the team after allegations of doping usage. Mazzoleni, who had finished 3rd in the 2007 Giro d'Italia, was later suspended for two years for his alleged involvement in the Oil for Drugs doping case. On the eve of the 2007 Tour de France, Alexander Vinokourov confirmed he had received coaching from controversial doctor Michele Ferrari. The next positive doping result came from team-leader Vinokourov, after a positive result for blood doping (blood transfusion). As a result, ASO (the organisers of the Tour de France "invited" Team Astana's management to withdraw the entire team from the Tour de France; this invitation was immediately accepted. Following confirmation that Vinokourov's B-sample had also tested positive, the Astana Team announced that he had been sacked with immediate effect. On 1 August 2007, fellow Kazakh Andrey Kashechkin tested positive for homologous blood doping following an out-of-competition test in Belek, Turkey. He was suspended and subsequently fired. This was followed by the termination of José Antonio Redondo's contract after "failing to abide by team rules", making him the fifth rider of the team to leave during the 2007 season.

    Following the doping problems of 2007, the sponsors of Astana replaced Biver with Johan Bruyneel, the former directeur sportif of the defunct Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. Bruyneel had the mandate to start afresh with the team, so he hired a number of former Discovery riders including 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (who had ridden with Vinokourov on the old Liberty Seguros team) and third-place finisher Levi Leipheimer. Additionally, Bruyneel introduced the anti-doping system developed by Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard, Head of Information for Anti Doping Danmark (ADD). The anti-doping system was initially used by Team CSC starting in 2007. The link between the Discovery Channel team and Astana was strengthened when Bruyneel signed a contract with Trek Bicycle Corporation to supply the team with bicycles and components, as they had done with Discovery Channel. Bruyneel also affirmed sponsorship with SRAM, the component maker.

    On 13 February 2008, the organisers of the both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France announce that Astana would be barred from their 2008 Grand Tours, due to the teams links to Operación Puerto and involvement in the 2007 Tour doping scandals. This meant that Contador was unable to defend his Tour crown, because his contract does not have an "escape clause" that covered Astana's current situation. One week before the 2008 Giro d'Italia, the organisers go on to invite the team to the race, a race which Alberto Contador would go on to win. In July, Vladimir Gusev is sacked by the team due to "irregular values" highlighted by the teams new, internal, anti-doping system.

    In 2009, after returning from retirement, Lance Armstrong is accused by the French anti-doping agency of acting improperly by disappearing from the sight of the anti-doping invesitgator for 20 minutes. In June, Assan Bazayev is given a two week internal suspension for not correctly reporting his whereabouts properly.

    In September 2010, Alberto Contador returned a positive doping test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. After a two year legal procedure, Contador is stripped of his 2010 Tour de France win (and 2011 Giro d'Italia victory).

    In 2011, Roman Kreuziger finished 5th at the Giro d'Italia as well as winning the best young rider classification. In 2014, the UCI began proceedings against him for biological passport anaomalies dated from 2011 and 2012 – the two years he spent at Astana.

    In 2012, former Astana riders and staff including; Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Levi Leipheimer, Dr. Pedro Celaya and Dr. Luis del Moral are heavily implicated in the mass doping scandal which surrounded the U.S. Postal /Discovery Channel team.

    In September 2014, it emerged that Valentin Iglinskiy has returned a positive test for EPO at the Eneco Tour, he confessed to doping to the team and was immediately sacked, three weeks later Valentin's brother, Maxim Iglinskiy was provisionally suspended by the UCI for an EPO-positive on August 1. It was later announced that Astana withdrew themselves from the Tour of Beijing per the MPCC rules, who state that a team with 2 positives in a short period of time must not participate in the next World Tour event.

    Subsequently a sample taken at the Tour de l'Avenir in August from Ilya Davidenok, a rider with the Astana Continental Team and a stagiaire with the Astana Pro Team, tested positive for anabolic steroids. Davidenok was provisionally suspended, and a review into the team's licence was announced following the positive tests for Davidenok and the Iglinskiy brothers.
     
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