The Kazakhstan cycling federation is standing behind Alexander Vinokourov, suggesting that he was forced out of the Tour by a "provocation". "This is politics", said Nikolai Proskurin, the federation's deputy director, according to AP.
Speaking on Kazakhstan television on Wednesday, Proskurin alleged that that Astana leader was never popular with race organiser ASO. "Even before the start the organisers said that if Vinokourov is among the favourites it would be wrong and no good," he said.
In an official statement, the federation said that it was shocked by the positive doping test but urged officials "not to make any fast conclusions and final accusations against the cyclist and his team." Alexander Antyshev, the federation's executive director, said "We have to wait for the officials results of Test A and then get confirmation of Test B and other necessary conclusions and examinations." SW