December 6/08 10:03 am - Astana Will Take Back Vinokourov, Press Conference Link
Posted by Editoress on 12/6/08
Astana Will Take Back Vinokourov
Team Astana Directeur Sportif Johan Bruyneel confirmed during a press conference at the recent team camp that the team would re-sign Alexandre Vinokourov after he finishes his doping suspension.
Vinokourov was suspended after testing positive for a blood transfusion at the 2007 Tour. The Kazakhstan cycling federation gave him a short one year suspension (two years is standard) after Vinokourov said he was retiring. However, he recently announced that he was coming back to racing after the end of his suspension.
The Astana team and Bruyneel are in a delicate situation, since the Astana team was originally built around Vinokourov (Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan), and Vinokourov is still a national hero in his country. The UCI has stated that if Vinokourov 'unretires', his suspension should go to two years.
Bruyneel picked his way through the situation at the press conference, stating: "Once his suspension is finished and he's OK with all the official instances - mainly with the UCI - and he's able to get a license, this is a Kazakhstan team. This team was created for him, so if he wants to race it would be logical that he is with Astana. But before we can get there a lot of things have to happen."
View the entire press conference Here