Team Astana is returning to racing action this weekend following its self-imposed hiatus after the blood doping positives of Alexander Vinokourov and Andrei Kashechkin, but it may have to go without its star rider, Andreas Klöden, who was injured in a training accident on Thursday.
The team will take part in two races on Sunday the GP Ouest France-Plouay in France and the GP Jef Scherens in Belgium. "The riders will have the heart to show that their team is not finished and and that the bad reputation of some of the riders should not overflow on to them," a team statement read.
Andreas Klöden was to have been the team's captain for the GP Plouay, however an accident during training on Thursday has put his participation in question. Klöden ran into trouble with "a car [which] didn't respect the right of way on the road", according to a team statement, and hurt his hand and hip, but did not break any bones. The race is an important part of Klöden's preparation for the World Championships in Stuttgart, and he hopes to be at the start on Sunday, but will make a final decision on Friday.
Should Klöden race, he will be supported by Assan Bazayev, Koen De Koert, Thomas Frei, Maxim Iglinsky, Andrej Misurov, Steve Morabito, and Gregory Rast.
In the GP Jef Scherens, Rene Haselbacher will lead a sprint-focused team of Maxim Gourov, Sergei Ivanov, Benoit Joachim, Aaron Kemps, Gennady Mikhailov, Dimitri Muravyev and Michel Schär.