"There was no organized doping" at Team Astana, Team Manager Marc Biver has explained to the UCI. The Luxemburger emphasized in a meeting with the international cycling union this week that the team is setting up new anti-doping controls to prevent the problems that arose this summer. The team was hit with three high-profile doping cases in Matthias Kessler, Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin.
Biver was invited to meet with the UCI after his team's recent run of doping cases and the organization is expected to decide on its future in the coming weeks; at stake is its ProTour license.
Team Astana has been working on an effective anti-doping programme, which Biver presented on Thursday to the UCI at his meeting with Vittorio Adorni, Anne Gripper, Doctor Mario Zorzoli and Alain Rumpf. "I explained myself," he said. "I repeated to them that there was no organized doping in our team. And I took a lot of trouble to present them with a programme that we put together with the help of Swiss Olympic Committee.
"Our goal was to not only to catch any possible cheaters, but also to make clear to the riders that they shouldn't even attempt it in the first place," Biver continued. "There will be 10 unannounced blood tests, as well as 10 urine tests, for each rider, which of course are in addition to the usual controls of the UCI and the WADA." The new program will cost about 400,000 Swiss francs [€245,000 - ed.], a sum that Biver says he is happy to invest "to restore credibility again."
As to his future with Astana - or if he even has one - Biver said, "It is all or nothing. I have already explained my position. It all depends on the Kazakhstan federation.
"I would really like to offer our young riders a new perspective in pro cycling," he said. "They don't deserve to be left in the lurch. The whole team is determined to work together for a clean and credible future with a convincing and well-thought-out anti-doping concept."