Convicted doper Alexander Vinokourov will return to competitive cycling at the Tour de l’Ain in August, a UCI 2.1-ranked stage race in France.

Widely rumoured to be returning to the sport in Astana colours, he will in fact ride the Tour de l’Ain for the Kazakh National team, despite the fact that the Astana team is also set to ride the event.

“Vinokourov will definitely be in the race,” confirmed race spokesman Laurent Servaes to Cycling Weekly this morning.

“The Rhône-Alpes is where he started cycling, so it’s great to for us to have him in the race, he had some great results in the past”.

The Kazakh rider was disqualified from the 2007 Tour de France after testing positive for a homologous blood transfusion, after which ASO forced his Astana team to leave the race in disgrace.

He later confirmed his intention to retire from professional cycling, but stated in 2008 that he would make a comeback to the sport in 2009.

Servaes’ comments pointed towards the Kazakh competing in this year’s Vuelta a España for the Astana team but this has still yet to be confirmed by Astana.

“[There is] no news about it,” Astana team spokesman Philippe Maertens told Cycling Weekly.

“There is for the moment no contact between the team management and Vinokourov”.

Interestingly enough, the rumour appears to hold enough weight for Maertens to say “for the moment”. It seems only a matter of time before Vinokourov will be back in Astana colours.

The Tour de l’Ain runs from August 9-12.

  • JN

    Radio Shack? Amazing how that company has managed to stay in business all these years while ripping off the ignorant consumers with their products. Yeah Lance…nice choice of sponsorship for your “all American” team. It would be nice but I know it won’t happen..if Levi stays with Astana.

  • Adam Monaghan

    “The Rhone-Alpes is where he started cycling, so it’s great to for us to have him in the race, he had some great results in the past”.

    Slightly ironic?

  • daisy

    Contador is not racing in Vuelta this year to defend his title…

  • Nathan Healey

    Like any family, we are going to have lessons we all need to learn from being in the family of cycling. The center of our passion is cycling no matter what level we are at. The need to look after our elite athletes when they, for reasons of there own self, are motivated by forces most of us cannot imagine to hold sway, must be protected in my view and put back on the right path. These elite in our sport are seemingly unaware they would achieve the top without the added needle promoted by medical and scientific folk who have a hidden agenda. Outing these folk is paramount in our beloved sport and protecting these young cycling folk from the garbage of temptation these garbage producers produce must be our center of attention. The tour e France this year proved our sport cannot be damaged when we look at the size of the interest in public numbers watching and world wide interest to this great race and sport. There is no such thing as bad publicity. It heightens interest. Indeed we need to be more vigilant in protecting those who are most vulnerable to temptation, and that is our elite. And of course each other least we forget. “Be careful out there.”

  • ageary

    why oh why are convicted dopers still allowed to race after just 2 years of a ban.!

    convicted dopers ruin cycling for everyone and a life ban regardless should be mandatory.

  • a.stayton

    Steve, Astana not likely to be funded next year. When Johan Bruyneel removes all his equipment and personnel from team it will costs millions and millions to get things going again. Lance, Contador, and Levi aren’t riding in the Vuelta and I doubt Johan will be in the team car. When the season ends this year there will be nothing left except the name.

  • steve hackett

    astana not planning to ride the2010 tour then? The wiiner not allowed to start for the second time in three years?