Astana withdraws from Tour of Beijing following Maxim Iglinskiy positive

Astana has announced that Maxim Iglinskiy will not seek the analysis of the B-sample of his positive test for EPO and, as a consequence, the Kazakh squad will not participate in the Tour of Beijing, which gets underway on Friday.

Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) rules state that when a team has two positive tests in a twelve-month period, it must suspend itself from racing for eight days beginning with the next WorldTour event on the calendar.

Iglinskiy’s younger brother Valentin tested positive for EPO in August and immediately confessed to doping, receiving a four-year ban from the Kazakh Cycling Federation. When news of Maxim Iglinskiy’s positive test – dating from August 1 – broke last week, it initially appeared as though Astana would be forced to miss the Tour of Lombardy and its home race, the Tour of Almaty.

However, MPCC president Roger Legeay told Cyclingnews that Astana could not suspend itself until either Maxim Iglinskiy’s B-sample was tested or he confirmed that he did not want a counter-analysis.

In a brief statement on Monday afternoon, Astana confirmed that Iglinskiy has not sought a B-sample analysis. The 2012 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner’s delayed decision bought Astana sufficient time to line up at the Tour of Lombardy and Tour of Almaty, where Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali was among the participants and where Alexey Lutsenko emerged the winner.

“Astana Pro Team has moved to act upon the decision by rider Maxim Iglinskiy not to request a counter-analysis of his positive control from 1 August 2014,” read the Astana statement. “In doing so the team conforms to rules set by the MPCC, which Astana Pro Team joined in 2013, and has therefore decided to withdraw from the final World Tour event – the Tour of Beijing.”

Astana becomes the third team to suspend itself from racing under the MPCC regulation. Ag2r-La Mondiale missed the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné after a B-sample analysis confirmed Sylvain Georges’ positive test for heptaminol (Steve Houanard had previously tested positive for EPO), while RusVelo missed last year’s Giro dell’Appennino after three of its riders tested positive for the asthma medication Fenoterol.

The MPCC acknowledged Astana’s self-suspension in a statement published on its website on Monday evening. “This self-suspension will apply from October 10, start date of the Tour of Beijing, to October 17, and will also include the Giro dell’Emilia and the GP Bruno Beghelli. The whole team will have to stop during this period. This temporary suspension of the activity of the team is with a view to implementing any corrective action it deems appropriate.”

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