Embattled cycling star Alexander Vinokourov still has the support of his nation of Kazakhstan as he readies to fight the world's governing cycling body on allegations of a homologous blood transfusion. Vinokourov tested non-negative for blood doping with an A sample taken after his Stage 13 Time Trial victory at the Tour de France, a result later backed up by his B sample, but his compatriots support the rider's claims that blood treatment for his Stage 5 accident is the cause of the non-negative results.
"I do not believe that Vinokourov was guilty of doping," Kazakh deputy minister for tourism and sport Kairat Aitekenov told Reuters. "During the race he was injured and received treatment. He can't understand it himself, he's in shock. To win by doping is something he would consider below his honour, this is a principled sportsman."
Alexander Antyshev, executive director of Kazakhstan's cycling federation, also supported the notion that the positive test resulted from Vinokourov's crash during the Tour's fifth stage. "We will insist that the results of the A and B sample blood tests were the result of his heavy fall," Antyshev told a joint news conference with Aitekenov. SW