Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mass exodus

The entire Astana team is out of the Tour, due to a positive blood doping test for Alexandre Vinokourov.

Antonio Colom Mas (Spain)
Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan)
Serguei Ivanov (Russia)
Andrey Kashechkin (Kazakhstan)
Andreas Klöden (Germany)
Daniel Navarro (Spain)
Grégory Rast (Switzerland)
Paolo Savoldelli (Italy)
Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)

That is the FIRST PLACE TEAM in the Tour standings. Leaving the Tour.

Their website at http://www.team-astana.eu/f/home.php is apparently overloaded and not responding.

The 5th place rider Klöden.
The 8th place rider Kashechkin.
The double stage winner Vinokourov.
The lowest-placed Astana rider was Gregory Rast, a Swiss cyclist formerly on the Phonak team, who held 108th place overall out of 160.

Yes, this is Huge.

None of the team riders had yet withdrawn from the Tour, all 9 were still competing. This brings the number of riders down to 151, suddenly. And puts Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery) into the top ten riders.

Update: The Astana website is now responding, and a news item there says (in French, badly translated here): "As opposed to what certain media could claim, Astana Cycling TEAM continues its activities and will be thus present at the time of Sachsen Tour (July 25 - 29) and of Brixia Tour (26 - July 29). The direction of the team, still present in Pau (FRA), received the unconditional support of the President of the Kazakhe Federation of Cycling, Mr. Danial Akhmetov."

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This really sucks.
This comment has been removed by the author.
quite astonishing picture i've found on the internet.

"Centre de transfusion sanguine" is French for "Blood Transfusion centre".

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