by Susan Westemeyer
Team Astana doesn't seem to assume that it will get a ProTour license for the coming season. "A ProTour license is really just a question of prestige," says Marc Biver, team manager. "I think that Astana would be invited to most races even if it just has a Continental license. The reality is that the grand tours don't belong to the ProTour, and I have close contacts with the ASO....."
In an interviw on www.radsport-aktiv.de, Biver denied that Team Astana is the successor to the former team Liberty Seguros. "We are not their successor, we are a new team and have nothing to do with Active Bay. Can the other teams ensure that there will be no new doping cases? No. You can only introduce a serious anti-doping policy and enforce it strictly. And to that point we have established our own anti-doping regulations."
Those regulations are encompassed in a Ten Point Plan, which Biver hopes will eliminate the possiblity of doping on the team. For instance, it plans to do blood tests on each rider before each race In addition to the four UCI doping tests planned for the year, the team will conduct tests on the riders during the first training camp to establish the baseline values. The tests will be repeated, unannounced, during the season. During the season, the team plans ultrasound heart tests and EKGs, as well as three obligatory physiological tests, to be conducted by independent institutes.
"Revolutionary" is how the team describes its new training software, which allows the team to follow over the internet which rider is doing which training on any given day, week or month. It also allows observence of the heart frequency, wattage, average speeed and other details, as well as what the rider eats.
The riders must guarantee that they do not use any forbidden substances or medicines, and that they have contact to no other doctors other than the team doctors. If a rider is suspected of doping, a urine test can be made.