Astana: A lapse in judgement

Vincenzo Nibali plays down Astana doping cases

Pro riders really should be a little more careful about their choice of associates.

Our sport is definitely moving on after the Lance Armstrong scandal, thanks in no small part to an invigorated UCI led by Brian Cookson.

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There are many reasons to be cheerful, to look to the future, if only there weren’t those annoying lapses in judgement that keep dragging us back.

Vincenzo Nibali is a case in point. There are no doubts anywhere that he doesn’t race clean or that he was a worthy Tour de France winner. But signing for Astana was never going to be good news, and to the surprise of no one there have now been five positive doping tests associated with the team this season.

Nibali has interesting logic for downplaying the controversy. The Kazakh brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinsky, who both tested positive for EPO, should be treated as one case because they likely cheated together.

Also, the three other positives came from riders in Astana’s secondary Continental registered team. “A completely different group,” according to Nibali, except that team manager Dmitri Sedoun was also a directeur sportif with the WorldTour team — that is until his recent sacking.

And then there is America’s next best thing, Tejay van Garderen. A little off-season motor-pace training is an excellent idea, except that is if you do it behind a motorcycle ridden by Lance Armstrong!

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly