Astana puts brakes on till end August

Wake me up when September comes

The Astana team, who pulled out of the Tour de France following the failed dope test of their Kazakh leader Alexandre Vinokourov, announced on Tuesday they had suspended all sporting activities until the end of August.

"This period will give us the time to question the serious issues such as management, staff and riders," said the Swiss team in a statement.

The statement added: "The management will put into effect new rules, concerning the structure of the team as well as ethical rules."

Astana on Monday sacked Vinokourov following his positive test for blood doping on the Tour, which consequently led to the prompt withdrawal of the whole team from the event.

The Kazakh rider was expelled from cycling's most prestigious race last Tuesday after failing the control following his win in the 13th stage time-trial on July 21.

The rider's sample revealed the presence of "two distinct blood populations."

Vinokourov has contested the validity of the results of both the A and B samples. He also tested positive in a second test taken on July 23.

© AFP 2007

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