News shorts: Almaty 2022 defends Vinokourov role in Olympic bid

Almaty 2022 defends use of Vinokourov as Olympic bid ambassador

The vice-chairman of Almaty’s bidding committee for the 2022 Winter Olympics has defended the Kazakhstani city’s use of Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov as an ambassador despite his positive test for blood doping in 2007 and the recent spate of positive tests on his team.

The Inside the Games website reports that Andrey Kryukov said that there was no evidence that Vinokourov was currently involved in doping and that his association with the bid was a positive one. "His title is Olympic champion in London," Kryukov said.

Almaty is locked in a tussle with Beijing to host the 2022 Olympics and the IOC Evaluation Commission is currently in Kazakhstan. Although Vinokourov is listed as an ambassador on the Almaty 2022 website, Inside the Games reports that he has not as yet had a formal role in the city’s bid for the Games.

No Asian bias by the UCI

Acting president of the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC), Datuk Abu Samah Abdul Wahab, has denied the UCI was in anyway biased toward Asian teams at the 2015 ACC Congress in Thailand following several postive doping tests from the Astana Pro Team and Astana Continental team last year. Abu Samah explained UCI Brian Cookson made him aware of the complaint at last weeks 2015 ACC Congress meeting in Korat, Thailand.

"This allegation arised following a claim by a representative from Kazakhstan saying UCI was biased towards The Kazakhstan Cycling Federation (KCF) and Astana Pro Tour Team," Abu Samah said in a statement. "At an Executive Management Meeting, a Member of the Executive Management Committee, Allen Chaizhunussov from Kazakhstan, had requested ACC to come forward and 'come clean' on doping issues involving Astana Pro Tour Team."

According to Abu Samah, who is also the Malaysian National Cycling Federation president, Chaizhunussov claimed the UCI was unfair in its dealings with Astana and the Kazak federation and expressed his desire for the protection of KCF as the "supreme governing body of the sport in Asia".

With Cookson detailing the procudure that KCF and Astana in the wake of the postive tests, Abu Samah explained that;

"Cookson explained that the question of UCI bullying Asian cycling teams did not arise, including KCF or the Astana Pro Team, and that in fact, UCI always cooperates with all parties around the world to fight against doping," he said.

In the wake of the positive tests from the two teams, which are not linked according to Astana team manager Alexandre Vinokourouv, the UCI have ravmaped its anti-doping regulations for 2015, including 10-year statute of limitations (up from eight), four-year bans for serious doping cases, the ability to impose anti-doping rule violations (ADRV) on individuals based upon third-party testimony, and gives more clarity on Therapeutic Use Exemptions.

Gunman and Avanti secure Oceania glory

A well timed attack in the elite men' Oceania road race by Taylor Gunman saw the New Zealander continue his impressive start to 2015. The 23-year-old started the season with eight in his national time trial defence but it was at the UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic where Gunman came into his own, claiming the overall victory. His fist general classification victory.

His victory in the 142km race on Sunday, 21 seconds ahead of Jordan Kerby (Drapac) and 33 seconds ahead of Daniel Barry (Budget Foklifts) also sealed victory in the OceaniaTour while his Avanti Racing Team also are uncatchable on top of the standings.

"I'm pretty happy, it won't really sink in for a little while," said Gunman. "The style that this was won in, solo, is quite a personal achievement.

"I could tell that I had looked after myself really well and when I wanted to put the power down I only had to do one effort and it took me all the way to the line."

"It's cool to get it for a New Zealand team, and to do it for [Sport Director] Andrew [Christie-Johnson] who supported me all last year and my teammates is even more special," Gunman added.

With one final race on the 2015 OceaniaTour calendar, the UCI 1.2 REV Classic, Gunman's overall victory is assured as he holds a 47 point advantage over teammate, Joe Cooper. 

Androni Giocattoli announce squad for Tour de Langkawi

Italian Pro-Continental squad Androni Giocattoli continues its affiliation with the Tour de Langkawi, confirming its appearance at the UCI 2.HC race which takes place next month in Malaysia. Androni Giocattoli hasn't missed the race since 1999, winning the overall on six occasions.

"I am happy to be back again with the team and we honour this invitation as we have our own tradition in Le Tour de Langkawi. We have won the overall title six times through Hernan Dario Munoz, Fredy Gonzalez and Jose Serpa of Colombia, Ruslan Ivanov of Moldova and Yonathan Monsalve of Venezuela," said team manager Gianni Savio.

"With good early season preparations through our participation in the Vuelta a Tachira in Venezuela and the Vuelta San Luis in Argentina, where we won a stage and were on the podium five times, we are on the right track to achieve success in LTdL."

Androni will field two Italian sprinters in Marco Benfatto and Marco Frapporti, hoping the duo can emulate Kenny Hummel's feat last year when he won stage six. There is no place in the squad for new signing and two times stages winner of the race, Francesco Chicchi.

The team is also focusing on the overall classification with the triple pronged attack of new-signing John Ebsen, Alessio Taliani and Jackson Rodriguez

Androni Giocattoli for the 2015 Tour de Langkawi: Marco Benfatto (Ita), Marco Frapporti (Ita), John Ebsen (Den), Alessio Taliani (Ita), Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) and Carlos Galvis (Ven).

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