Astana Pro Team has released a statement with regard to its riders, brothers Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy’s positive tests for EPO, and to reaffirm its position on having a zero-tolerance policy to doping.
The Kazakh team explained its recent eight-day auto-suspension that begins Friday at the start of the Tour of Beijing, said that it intends to launch an internal investigation, and has requested that the two suspended riders contact the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC).
“Astana Pro Team holds itself to a standard in excess of those requirements mandated by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) and by so doing is placing itself in technical violation of obligations to the UCI, for which Astana Pro Team expects to receive a sanction.”
With regard to the Iglinskiy brothers' positive tests, the team said that it will conduct an internal investigation to reassure that they were isolated. “Astana Pro Team will investigate the events more thoroughly in the following weeks, and will request an audit of its own stringent anti-doping policy to identify whether even stronger measures would be possible and legally enforceable.”
The team has provided the UCI with a copy of its anti-doping policy and hopes to meet with the sport governing body to discuss any concerns. In addition, the team has asked Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy to contact the CIRC.
Astana's statement comes after the UCI noted that it would consider the two doping positives when deciding the future of the team. In addition, the UCI Disciplinary Commission will discuss a potential 100,000 CHF fine for not starting the Tour of Beijing, according to rule 2.15.128 of UCI’s Cycling Regulations.
Astana pulled itself out of the Tour of Beijing after its rider Maxim Iglinskiy decided not seek the analysis of the B-sample of the positive test for EPO that he returned on August 1.
It was the second rider in 12 months to produce a positive test after Iglinskiy’s brother Valentin tested positive for EPO in August. He received a four-year ban from the Kazakh Cycling Federation.
According to the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) rules, of which Astana is a member, when a team has two positive tests in a 12-month period, it must suspend itself from racing for eight days beginning with the next WorldTour event on the calendar.
It seemed as though the team would have to remove itself from the Tour of Lombardy and the Tour of Almaty but that did not happen. The MPCC’s president Roger Legeay said that the team could not suspend itself until Maxim’s confirmed whether or not he wanted his B-sample test.
Astana temporarily suspended itself from October 10 to 17, which includes the WorldTour finale Tour of Beijing along with the Giro dell’Emilia and the GP Bruno Beghelli.