Confusion over Kashechkin's blood samples

The Kazakh cycling federation claims that Andrey Kashechkin's blood has been tested and come back...

The Kazakh cycling federation claims that Andrey Kashechkin's blood has been tested and come back negative. Team Astana has denied that it was the official B-sample from his positive test.

The Kazakh rider tested positive for blood doping at an out-of-competition test the beginning of the month, and, subsequently, he has denied any wrongdoing.

In an interview in sports.kz, vice president of the national federation Nikolai Proskurin said that "one of the independent French laboratories" did "repeated analyses" which did not reveal any abnormalities in Kashechkin's blood. He said that the rider "promised to prove his innocence and show that the first test was erroneous." Kashechkin "is currently occupied with preparing the necessary documents for court," as his trial and that of former teammate Alexander Vinokourov "will begin in about a month. Right now they are training together to maintain their condition."

According to HLN.be, Proskurin also said that "Andrey has always claimed to be innocent and we will now go to the Sports Court in Lausanne. He needs justice. The first test was full of errors, which he wants to show." Proskurin apparently did not say exactly what lab had done the most recent tests nor did he explain what the rider or the federation would ask the court to do.

Corinne Druey, Astana spokesperson, denied that the B-sample was used. "The B-sample hasn't been tested yet," she said to Cyclingnews. "So it would be strange to have its result already."

Astana to the Vuelta?

Proskurin also denied that Andreas Klöden would be leaving the Astana team. "This is complete nonsense! Andreas never intended to leave the team. Right now he is training in Switzerland and is preparing for the Vuelta. We have an invitation to that race and Andreas will be co-captain there along with the Spanish rider Jose Antonio Redondo."

Proskurin's statement contradicts that of the Vuelta organizer Unipublic. The organizer announced earlier this month that it was withdrawing its invitation to Team Astana in light of the doping cases involving Vinokourov, Kashechkin and Matthias Kessler. The team said at that time that it "deeply regrets this decision but respects it."

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