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“I’m angry like never before. I feel betrayed,” said Vinokourov. “The team has worked hard against doping and we’ve never had problems with the Licence Commission before." 

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDRE VINOKOUROV

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ASTANA - PREMIER TECH

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MAXIM IGLINSKIY

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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UCI

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VALENTIN IGLINSKIY

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22.10.2014 @ 19:55 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

As this year’s Tour de France champion, Vincenzo Nibali was in the center of attention at the official presentation of the 2015 route of the race on Wednesday. However, recently revealed three positive doping cases at Astana casted a shadow on their presence in the Palais des Congres in Paris, and team manager Alexandre Vinkourov confessed to be furious about how the whole squad is expected to pay for mistakes of Kazakh riders.

 

Even though Astana won the 2014 Tour de France with Nibali, their participation in the upcoming edition of the French three-week event is at stake after the UCI announced last week that its License Commision would review Kazakh team’s place within WorldTour ranks.

 

Commenting on the issue while attending the official route presentation in Paris, Vinokourov confessed to feel betrayed and angry like never before, but once again emphasized that a decision to reach for banned substances was made by Iglinskiy brothers and Ilya Davidenok independently of the team.

“I’m angry like never before. I feel betrayed,” said Vinokourov. “The team has worked hard against doping and we’ve never had problems with the Licence Commission before. Like every year, we’ll have to show that we take measures against doping, that we have internal tests, we respect all of the rules. I don’t see why the team should have to pay for the stupidity of two riders. The rules are the same for everybody and the commission will decide if we are working correctly or not.”

Emphasizing that the whole squad shouldn’t be punished for mistakes made by two or three riders, Astana manager honored the rules applied by the MPCC and withdrawn the squad from participating in the Tour of Beijing and several one-day event held in October. The third positive case on the team would force them to self-suspend themselves for a month, but Vinokourov insists that a test from their stagiaire Davidenok counts for the Continental team.

“We’re in the MPCC because we want to show that we are transparent, maybe not like other teams who aren’t part of it,” Vinokourov told Cyclingnews. “We couldn’t participate in Beijing because that’s a rule for the MPCC. And that was a pity because China is a very important market for the team and for Kazakhstan.”

“Regardless of the result of the B sample, that’s not a third positive test for Astana, it’s for the Continental team,” Vinokourov said. “They are two separate teams with different riders and different management but of course it does harm to the image of the country because it’s another Kazakh rider. But there is more and more testing being carried out in Kazakstan now.”

Having been banned for doping in 2007, Olympic Champion from London claimed that he has paid for his own sins and turned down a suggestion that he might provide a testimony to shed light on doping in cycling since 1998. He moved on and expects his team to do the same following recent doping controversies.

“To talk about what? My past? I passed my two years, I can’t keep paying for it for all my life,” Vinokourov said. “I was suspended for two years. I came back, and I worked the image of the team. Maybe I was too naïve about the Kazakh riders on the team sometimes. It’s been a big lesson. When you’re a manager you have to be very strict with your riders.”

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