With Astana fighting for survival after the International Cycling Union called for its licence to be rescinded, team doctor Joost De Maeseneer, has surfaced to explain its anti-doping system.
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7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

De Maeseneer and four others care for 30 riders at more than 250 days of racing from January to October, the team said on its website.

While some of what he says can be viewed as following the party line, De Maeseneer and his crew of doctors stand to lose their jobs if the UCI recommendation is confirmed.

"We follow the no-needle policy, there are no outside supplements allowed, no outside trainers, we don't use sprays. We think this is a good idea, and we joined the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) in 2013. Not all the teams in the WorldTour are members of the MPCC, we think this should not be the case," De Maeseneer said.

"It adds to the overall number of blood tests we do in a year. I would say the top riders are tested approximately no less than 50 times per year. Nibali at the tour was once tested four times in 24-hours and he wore the yellow jersey for 18 days.

"We use an internal online spreadsheet to pass all of the data among the doctors. There is the ADAMS (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System) whereabouts program, the regular weight and fat percentage data.

"For our own internal blood testing for the bio passport and also for all our health check-ups we work with CAD in Torino, an Italian anti-doping laboratory run by Professor Paolo Borrione, who has been an executive at the Italian Anti-Doping Committee and has a very respected international reputation in the fight against doping.

De Maeseneer said that before he joined Astana in 2013 he insisted on expanding the personnel in order to cover the entire team throughout a season.

"I came aboard with Vino (team boss Alexandre Vinokourov) in 2013, it was the first time I met him, I told him the first thing, 'Ok, Vino that's great if that is the case, then I need absolutely to increase the budget to bring a fourth doctor for the team'" he said.

"Four doctors is the minimum you can have in a big team at the top level, this way we can always have a doctor at every race, and one back at home to work at the computer or process our data.

"This weekend is a good example. One doctor is with the team for Strade Bianche, and he then goes after that to Tirreno-Adriatico. There is one doctor for Paris-Nice and another to Langkawi."

Without naming them, De Maeseneer was scathing in his assessment of Maxim and Valentin Iglinsky who both tested positive for the use of the blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) late last year.

"Bad things happen, and idiots exist all around the world, even in cycling. Two idiots who violated the rules on their own got caught, and the system caught them. That means the system works.

"The team has everything in place for riders who want to succeed without doping, and Astana has 30 riders and 40 staff who are the very best in the business, and all together we are at the front in the fight against performance enhancing drugs in cycling."