Fuglsang defends decision to join Astana

Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang hit back at criticism of his new team, Astana, which came this week from German sprinter Marcel Kittel.

Kittel has complained openly about riders continuing to support Lance Armstrong in the wake of the USADA doping case against him, and this week questioned the UCI's choice to award a ProTeam license to Astana. Kittel objected to the team being run by Alexandre Vinokourov, who served a two year suspension for blood doping.

The Argos-Shimano sprinter said he would never sign with the team, telling Het Nieuwsblad, "I've heard rumours about what type of team Astana is. The Kazakhs, even the non-riders, simply have a different mentality."

But Fuglsang, who started his professional career under Bjarne Riis before moving on to Leopard Trek and Radioshack, remembered Kittel's own controversy from earlier this year.

"I think Marcel Kittel must put his own house in order," Fuglsang said to Sporten.dk. "It is not so long ago that he had his own problems in Germany, where he had used some methods that were not quite correct."

Kittel admitted to using ultraviolet treatment of his blood under the orders of a national team coach when he was a junior. The treatments were later banned by WADA.

Fuglsang said that he is happy to be going to Astana, which he views as a stable team. Finding a team that is free of doping history would be difficult, he said, and defended Vinokourov.

"If you have to sign with a team where there is one that has a doping history, there are not many teams available," he said. "So I could, for example, not have signed with Team Saxo Bank Tinkoff or with [Omega Pharma-]Quick Step, for they also have people who have admitted doping in the past. Vinokourov is of course among the more prominent, but I think he has learned from the mistakes he has committed.

"Whether Vinokourov has paid for a victory or not, I think it would be too much to if you take the WorldTour license away from Astana and Katusha," he added.

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