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Kashechkin returns on Thursday at Worlds

Andrey Kashechkin (C)

Andrey Kashechkin (C) (Image credit: AFP)

Andrey Kashechkin of Kazakhstan will make his comeback to cycling at the World Championship time trial in Mendrisio, Switzerland on Thursday.

The former Astana rider, who tested positive for blood doping in an out-of-competition test in 2007, has not raced since his suspension ended on 7 August this year, but has been named in Kazakhstan’s world championship team and will – according to a team source – ride the time trial, though not Sunday’s road race.

It is understood that Kashechkin’s inclusion in the team has the support of the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation, which suggests that he, like Alexander Vinokourov, could be in line for a return to the Astana team.

The national federation has a major stake in the professional team, though the Astana spokesman, Philippe Maertens, said on Wednesday that there has so far been no contact between 29-year-old Kashechkin and the squad, whose future as a ProTour squad has yet to be decided by the UCI.

In August the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed Kashechkin’s appeal against the two-year ban imposed by his national federation. It followed positive tests on the A and B-samples of an out-of-competition test conducted by the UCI on 1 August 2007, while the Kazakh rider was on holiday in Turkey.

A few weeks earlier, Kashechkin had been a member of the Astana team that withdrew en masse from the 2007 Tour after its leader, Vinokourov, tested positive for the same method of doping, by illegal blood transfusion.

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