Alexandre Vinokourov will ride the Vuelta a España for the Astana team according to an official team press release.
Vinokourov served a two-year suspension from professional cycling after testing positive for a homologous blood transfusion during the 2007 Tour de France whilst in Astana colours.
The Kazakh rider recently returned to action at the Tour de l’Ain for the Kazakh national team as he had yet to reach an agreement with the Astana team manager, Johan Bruyneel.
Vinokourov stated at the start of the Tour de France this year that Astana, a team which he helped to create in 2006, would have to take back the Kazakh else Bruyneel would be forced to leave the team.
Vinokourov and the Kazakh consortium of sponsors that support the team carry significant bargaining power, arguably facilitating his return to the team. The fact that Bruyneel is likely to follow Lance Armstrong to the newly-founded Radio Shack team for 2010 is also a contributing factor in the Kazakh’s return.
Vinokourov’s first race for the team will be the Vuelta, which starts next Saturday in Assen in the Netherlands. Vinokourov, who won the Tour of Spain in 2006 has signed a contract with Team Astana till the end of 2010.
Astana line-up for the Vuelta: Assan Bazayev, Maxim Iglinskiy, Jesús Hernández, Chris Horner, Daniel Navarro, José Luis Rubiera, Michael Schär, Alexandre Vinokourov and Haimar Zubeldia
Directeurs sportif: Sean Yates and Alexandre Shefer