The third positive this year for an Astana rider is the just the latest chapter in the team’s shadowy history.
By
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM


Said without judgement.

2006. The team spawns out of the remnants of the Liberty Seguros-Wurth team. That squad, and its manager Manolo Saiz are deeply implicated in Operacion Puerto, an investigation conducted by the Guardia Civil which uncovers systematic doping within the team. Alexandre Vinokourov becomes de facto captain, and is an arm's length from management. Despite the team's history, the UCI awards it a new four year WorldTour license.

2007. The team recruits Andreas Kloden, Matthias Kessler, Paolo Salvodelli and Eddy Mazzoleni for the new season among others. Kessler tests positive for testosterone in April. Mazzoleni is implicated in an Italian doping investigation (albeit from his pre-Astana days), before retiring. Vinokourov tests positive for blood-doping at the Tour de France. Andrey Kashechekin tests positive in August, also for blood doping. Team manager Marc Biver is sacked.

2008. Johan Bruyneel takes the reins at Astana. Joining Bruyneel are a number of Discovery Channel alumni; Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Vladimir Gusev, Jose Luis Rubiera among them. The team also hires anti-doping consultant, Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard. Gusev is sacked in June due to improper blood values. In September, Astana paves the way for the comeback of Lance Armstrong.

2009. Astana takes three of top-four positions at the Tour de France. Vinokourov re-joins the team after the Tour. The UCI isn't all that happy but allows it. Later, it's revealed Armstrong had blood-doped at the 2009 Tour de France after an investigation by USADA in 2012. Bruyneel leaves.

2010. Yvon Sanquer takes up the manager's position, though under the thumb of Vinokourov. Enrico Gasparotto, David de la Fuente, Valentin Iglinskiy, Paolo Tiralongo and others join the team. Vinokourov wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege. It's later uncovered that he paid Alexander Kolobnev to allow him to win. Alberto Contador wins the Tour de France, then tests positive for clenbuterol. The victory is eventually revoked by the CAS, in 2012.

2011. Giuseppe Martinelli takes over from Yvon Sanquer - the fifth manager since 2007. Alberto Contador leaves the team and Romain Kreuziger joins the team. Kreuziger finishes fifth at the Giro d'Italia. It's revealed in 2014 that he is the focus of a blood passport investigation stemming from the same year. Andrey Kashechkin rejoins from August.

2012. The team wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege with Maxim Iglinskiy and Vinokourov wins the Olympic Road Race. Uran, who finishes second, is criticised for appearing to gift Vinokourov the win. Vinokourov promptly retires and takes on a management role. Vinokourov applies for Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) membership for Astana. The USADA Reasoned Decision is released, with several former riders directly or indirectly implicated. Leipheimer who rode with the team in 2007 admits to doping while at the team, and Bruyneel is banned for life as one of the architects of a systemic doping regime.

2013. Vinokourov officially becomes the team manager, while Martinelli becomes head DS. Astana becomes provisional members of the MPCC. Nibali joins the team, and goes to the Giro d'Italia where he wins convincingly. Team attempts to sign Franco Pellizotti, returning from suspension - a move that would pit the team against MPCC rules. In December team backs down from intention to sign rider. Vinokourov expresses sadness the team couldn't complete the transfer.

2014. Astana wins the Tour de France with Nibali. Valentin Iglinskiy tests positive for EPO. Maxim Iglinskiy tests positive for EPO. The team muddles its way through an MPCC suspension from racing. Trainee, and 2015 signing Ilya Davidenok returns an adverse analytical finding for testosterone. The UCI says it's currently reviewing the team's place in the WorldTour.