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Vinokourov returns in France, but not for Astana

Alexander Vinokourov is expected to return to racing on Tuesday at the Castillon-la-Bataille criterium in France, but will not race for Astana, the Kazakh team informed Cyclingnews on Monday.

Vinokourov will take part in the 45km criterium in Western France on Tuesday evening. The event will mark Vinokourov's first race since he completed a two-year ban for blood doping in the 2007 Tour de France. The 35-year-old's ban ended on July 23.

Vinokourov announced prior to this year's Tour de France that he expected to return to competition with Astana. However, the team's press officer Phillipe Maertens said on Monday that Vinokourov would not be racing under the team's name on Tuesday.

"When he [Vinokourov] is racing tomorrow, it will not be for Astana,"  said Maertens.

He added that Vinokourov had not yet reached any agreement to ride for the Astana squad. "I know he [Vinokourov] wants to come to our team but for the moment nothing is decided, nothing is done yet," he said.

"It can change in a few days, but for now [he is not a member of the team]."

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