Alexandre Vinokourov set for comeback in late July

Court of Arbitration for Sport confirms two year ban

International sport's top court confirmed Tuesday that disgraced Kazakh cyclist Alexander Vinokourov must serve out a two-year doping ban until late July.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said in a statement it had set aside the one-year suspension handed down by Kazakhstan's cycling federation in December 2007, following an arbitration request.

It decided instead that Vinokourov's period of ineligibility, which was applicable after he was expelled from the 2007 Tour de France for blood doping, should run for two years under international cycling rules.

"Mr Vinokourov will be eligible to compete in international competitions as of 24 July 2009," it added.

The preliminary decision, which followed an arbitration request by the rider, his national federation and the International Cycling Union (UCI), effectively vindicated UCI chief Pat McQuaid's complaints that the original Kazakh ruling was too lenient.

Vinokourov, who had originally retired after the doping ban, has said he wants to launch a comeback later this year, preferably with Astana alongside Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador.

"My dream would be to win the world championship and wear the rainbow jersey for my last year in 2010," he said last month.

© AFP 2009

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