Johan Bruyneel, the manager of Team Radioshack, has said that the return of Alexander Vinokourov to Astana was the reason he left the Kazakh-sponsored squad.
Writing in his column for Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Bruyneel said: "The reason for my leaving is that Vinokourov is back riding with Astana." The return of the Kazakh rider after his two-year suspension created tension before the Tour de France, when 'Vino' told the media that he was certain to be integrated back into the Astana team, whether Bruyneel liked it or not. "If Johan doesn't want me, it will be up to him to leave the team," the rider had said.
"The press conference of Vinokouorv was the straw that broke the camel's back. He more or less demanded my departure in case I don't allow him in the team. When I came on [the team] I had made it clear that I hoped I didn't have to take him in the team. It turned out differently. Vinokourov is back in the team and that's why I'm leaving."
Neither the rivalry between 2009 Tour de France victor Alberto Contador and seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong - nor the team's financial difficulties - were the main causes for Bruyneel's move to The Shack. But Bruyneel still said that, "I am glad that I won't have anything to do with it anymore, as of January 1, 2010. Honestly, I am tired of the fight with some of these Kazakhs."
The Belgian also said that the International Cycling Union (UCI) was closely looking at the change of management within the Astana team. "One of the conditions of the UCI is that a credible management has to come in. That is the first step that has to be taken. If Vinokourov thinks he can take over the squad, then they have to do it like that," added Bruyneel.
The Astana team has not yet announced who will be managing the outfit next year.