The Lampre-Farnese Vini team has confirmed it is interested in signing former Astana rider Andrey Kashechkin but refuted comments from the rider's lawyer that he had already signed a two-year deal.
The Italian team also confirmed it would be impossible for Kashechkin to ride this year's Tour de France because his name was not on the list of 15 riders the team submitted to race organisers ASO in the spring.
"There's nothing official or confirmed yet. The rider was offered to us and we're interested but before he could ever become a Lampe-Farnese Vini rider, with a fully registered contract, he'd have to complete a full medical and other details have to be clarified," press officer Andrea Appiani told Cyclingnews.
"Contrary to reports, he can't ride the Tour de France because he's not in the list of 15 we sent to ASO and he's definitely not going to ride the Tour of Slovenia because the team has already set off for the race."
Reports that Lampre-Farnese Vini were interested in Kashechkin first emerged last week, with the rider reportedly able to cover the cost of his contract with a personal sponsor he would bring to the team.
Positive for blood doping
Kashechkin tested positive for blood doping after the 2007 Tour de France. A few days earlier, fellow Astana rider and Kazkhstani Alexandre Vinokourov, also tested positive and the Astana team left the Tour de France in disgrace. Kashechkin denied doping and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for sport but was eventually banned for two years. He rode for Kazakhstan at the 2009 world championships but has so far failed to find a professional team for 2010.
Lampre denied that Kashechkin's past could stop him signing with them but the team is treading carefully.
"We're verifying with the UCI that there aren't any problems with signing him. We don't think his past is a problem because he's served his ban and been allowed to race again. The recent overall standings at the Giro d'Italia included several riders who have served their bans and been allowed to race again."
"His lawyer perhaps jumped the gun because negotiations are still on going. There's no rush for us to sign Kashechkin because he can't ride the Tour and that race will be the focus for the team for the next few weeks. We'll have both Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Petacchi at the Tour de France."
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