Kashechkin sacked following B test confirmation

Kazakh rider joins compatriot Vinokourov in limbo

Kazakh cyclist Andrey Kashechkin has been sacked by his Astana team following confirmation of a positive test for blood doping, a statement by the team said Friday. His team leader, Alexandre Vinokourov, was sacked during the Tour de France following a positive test, also for homologous blood doping.

A statement by the embattled Kazakh team, which is registered in Switzerland, said: "As it was to be expected the B sample of Andrey Kashechkin has also tested positive for blood doping.

"The Kazakh rider had been tested during a random doping control on August 1. After being temporarily suspended by the Astana cycling team, Andrey Kashechkin is dismissed with immediate effect."

Kashechkin, who finished third overall in last year's Tour of Spain - which will begin this Saturday - was snared during a random doping control while he was training in Turkey. Both he and Vinokourov have protested their innocence and vowed to fight their sanctions, however both are facing two-year bans from the sport.

© AFP 2007

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