The Astana cycling team will resume racing at the GP Ouest France ? Plouay, according to a press release sent out by the team.
?On Sunday September 2, a team will be at the start of the Grand Prix of Plouay (FRA), a UCI ProTour race,? It read. ?It is still too early to give the list of riders, it is obvious that all in the team are thirsty for kilometres and efforts after one month of suspension of any competition.?
However, the team?s manager Marc Biver, is meeting with UCI ProTour officials this Thursday (August 23), and some believe he will be stripped of the licence.
The Kazakh backed squad suspended all activity on July 31 in order to ?think about it?s future.? The self-imposed move came after the team sacked their talismanic leader Alexandre Vinokourov following his positive test for blood doping during the Tour de France.
Vinokourov?s positive test followed Matthias Kessler?s positive test for testosterone, and Eddy Mazzoleni?s retirement in the face of the Oil for Drugs investigation, in which he was involved.
The team started to fall apart following Vinokourov?s sacking when their bike supplier, BMC, pulled their sponsorship. Soon after, Craft, their clothing manufacturer cut their ties with the team.
Then, on August eighth, it was announced that Andrey Kashechkin had also tested positive for a blood transfusion. Following Astana?s exclusion from the Tour de France in the race?s final week, the UCI had tracked Kashechkin down to Belek in Turkey, and carried out a surprise out of competition test, two days after the Tour had finished.
Despite contradictory rumours of money not arriving from Kasakhstan and that Vinokourov himself wanted to take over the team?s ProTour licence, the team is saying it will continue, and is putting in place a new anti-doping programme.
The press release continued: ?In Parallel, the Astana Cycling Team?s management continues its concrete steps with the Swiss Olympic [the team is registered in Switzerland] in order to quickly set up a system of independent and external anti-doping controls for the team. Ensuring them to move in a clean and irreproachable sport discipline.?
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