Astana manager Alexandre Vinokourov is confident the team will keep its WorldTour licence despite the brand being rocked by a string of positive tests.
By
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:34 PM

Three riders from the Astana Continental squad have failed
tests for steroids in addition to two riders from the WorldTour
squad - Iglinskiy brothers, Maxim and Valentin - both testing positive for EPO this year.

La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported the Vinokourov has apparently used his influence in Kazakhstan to have the Continental team suspended.

Vinokourov said the Continental squad is being "suspended indefinitely" however there has been no official confirmation from the team.

"People must understand that they have nothing to do with us. The only thing they have in common is the jersey and the name," Vinokourov told La Gazzetta.

"The young riders are crazy if they still haven't understood that there is no place for doping in cycling.

"I want this [suspension] to be a signal, a blast in their ear of our Federation. As we've often requested, the Kazakh Federation has to do more controls and be more severe. They've got our full support."

Despite his own team being hit by two positive tests Vinokourov says he is not concerned by the chance that the International Cycling Union may revoke the team's WorldTour licence.

"There is no problem for the license. We have given all the information that we have been asked about."

The UCI is currently reviewing licence applications with an announcement expected in December.

Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali has already spoken out about the team, distancing the actions of the younger riders and labeling dopers as 'stupid.'

"Astana has a satellite team of youngsters. It's a completely different team," Nibali told The Guardian earlier this month.

"Today we have a biological passport, regular doping control, race
controls. If you are doping, you will be caught. Even if the technique
of doping can be advanced you will still be caught in another four
years. It makes me laugh. Risking and cheating today is for stupid
people."