Monday, July 30, 2007
Astana fires Vinokourov after 'B' sample revealed
ESPN.com news services
PARIS -- Alexandre Vinokourov has been fired by the Astana team following his positive test for blood doping during the Tour de France, the team announced Monday.
"Astana Cycling Team received confirmation that Alexandre
Vinokourov's "B" sample was 'non negative'," the Swiss team backed
by Kazakh companies said in a statement.
"Consequently, the Kazakh rider has been sacked by Astana
cycling team with immediate effect."
Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping following his
victory in a time trial in Albi on July 21.
He left the race last Tuesday and, as a result of the
positive test, the Astana team was invited by Tour organizers
Amaury Sport Organization to pull out.
Vinokourov, winner of last year's Tour of Spain, denies doping, saying through his
lawyer Saturday the test results "simply make no sense." Blood
transfusions increase the count of red blood cells, which carry
oxygen to muscles.
"Given all the attention paid to doping offenses, you would
have to be crazy to do what I have been accused of, and I am not
crazy," Vinokourov said.
If found guilty he faces a two-year ban, and according to
the International Cycling Union's anti-doping charter will have
to pay a fine equal to a year's salary.
Spain's Alberto Contador of the Discovery Channel team won
this year's Tour, which was marred by doping scandals:
• Italy's Cristian Moreni tested positive for testosterone and his Cofidis team also left the race.
• Michael Rasmussen was fired by his Rabobank team when
leading the race for lying about his training whereabouts, an
allegation Rasmussen denies.
He had previously received two recorded warnings from the
UCI for failing to provide the sport's governing body with his
Last year's Tour champion Floyd Landis is awaiting the
ruling of a U.S. arbitration panel after testing positive for
testosterone during the 2006 race. He denies using
Information from Reuters and The Associated Press is included in this report