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Astana sack cyclist Vinokourov
Kazakh rider fired after testing positive at this year's Tour de France.
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2007 04:46 GMT
Vinokourov was a stage winner during
this year's Tour de France [AFP]
Alexandre Vinokourov has been sacked by his Astana team after he tested positive at the Tour de France.
 
The Kazakh was forced out of the Tour when he tested positive for a banned blood transfusion after winning the 13th stage. His team was also disqualified at that time.

He was only officially fired after the backup 'B' sample confirmed the initial positive finding.

 

Vinokourov now faces a two-year ban from cycling and the loss of a year's salary under the anti-doping charter of the International Cycling Union, which came into effect before this year’s race.

Innocence protested
 
The rider has maintained his innocence, arguing that test results "simply make no sense."
 
"Given all the attention paid to doping offences, you would have to be crazy to do what I have been accused of, and I am not crazy," Vinokourov said.
 
The Vinokourov saga was just one of a series of doping scandals to rock this year's Tour.
 
Tour leader Michael Rasmussen, who looked set to win the race, was expelled by his Rabobank team for lying about his whereabouts after missing two doping tests.

Meanwhile, Italian rider Cristian Moreni tested positive for testosterone, prompting the withdrawal of his entire Cofidis team.

T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz also failed a pre-Tour test for testosterone that was only discovered after the start of the race.
 
Vinokourov used a blood transfusion from a compatible blood donor, rather than his own blood, which made it easier to see anomalies during the blood test.
 
Blood transfusions work by increasing an athlete's count of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscles.
Source:
Agencies
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