The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld Alexandre Vinokourov’s two year ban given out by the Union Cycliste Internationale but will still be free to race again from July 24, 2009.
Former Astana team leader Vinokourov failed a test for homologous blood transfusion after winning the stage 13 time trial in Albi during the 2007 Tour de France.He won again in Loudenvielle two days later, but was kicked out of the race the following day in Pau.
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His team was also asked to leave the race and he was then sacked by the very team that had been built around him. Vinokourov then announced his retirement from the sport and so the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation only suspended him for one year, a ruling that went against the standard two-year ban.
Last year Vinokourov aired his intention to race again, possibly in the Beijing Olympics, after his one year ban ended. The UCI promptly filed an appeal to CAS asking for an extension to his ban from competition from one to two years.
It is this appeal that CAS has now upheld, and he will be free to race again from July 24, 2009 – two years after he failed the test at the Tour.
The full statement from CAS read:
THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) RULES THAT ALEXANDER VINOKOUROV WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO COMPETE AGAIN AS OF 24 JULY 2009
Lausanne, 16 June 2009 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has today issued its preliminary decision in the arbitration between the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), Alexander Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) and the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation (KCF):
(1) The decision adopted on 5 December 2007 by the Anti-Doping Commission of the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation is set aside.
(2) Mr Vinokurov committed an anti-doping rule violation under Articles 15.2 of the Anti-Doping Regulations of the Union Cycliste Internationale and, according to Articles 261, 268 and 275 of the Anti-Doping Regulations, is declared ineligible for a period of two years commencing on 24 July 2007.
(3) Mr Vinokurov will be eligible to compete in international competitions as of 24 July 2009.
The full award, with the grounds will be issued in a few days and published on the CAS website
Earlier this year Vinokourov again stated his intention to return to racing and has been seen training around his home in Monaco. At the time he said he would return to racing with the Astana team, something team boss Johan Bruyneel ruled out.
With Astana still facing an uncertain future due to their financial problems, Vinokourov’s return is unlikely to be straight forward.