Astana suffered another blow Wednesday when Kazakh Andrej Kashechkin tested positive for a homologus blood transfusion following an unexpected control on August 1 in Belek, Turkey. Astana issued a statement saying Kashechkin was suspended effective immediately while waiting for the analysis of the B sample.
27 year-old Kashechkin's positive test further damages the reputation of an already vulnerable team, however management says the news only strengthens their resolve to "set up drastic measures for clean cycling."
"It shows that the UCI does a good job," said French Anti-Doping Agency president Pierre Bordry to Reuters by telephone. "I think one rider being tested positive for this kind of doping is a lot, two is too much. It is quite dreadful to see that in some teams, there is this kind of practice."
Star Alexander Vinokourov also tested positive during Stage 16 of the Tour de France for homologus blood doping. The day after, his entire team, including Kashechkin, withdrew from the Tour. Homologus doping involves the transfer of blood from another person. Vinokourov was fired from Astana following a positive B sample test, but he has maintained his innocence.
Astana had suspended itself from racing for the month of August, although team members were scheduled for a training camp in Switzerland to keep its riders in shape from August 11 - 24. Kashechkin was among the riders scheduled to participate prior to his positive test. Riders were expected to undergo various medical and psychological tests, and the team is planning to announce "new directives."