Klöden stays with Astana

"Uncertainties have now been resolved"

German cyclist Andreas Klöden, who finished second in the 2004 and 2006 Tour de France, announced on Thursday he will stay with the Astana team.

The 32-year-old was forced out of this year's Tour when Astana withdrew from the race after team captain Alexander Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping during this year's race.

"Having reflected on the situation and spoken to other teams, I have decided to remain for one year more at Astana," explained Klöden on his website. "I am content that uncertainties have now been resolved and I will devote myself to my profession.

"The quality of the team and its attitude has led to this decision," said the cyclist who switched from the T-Mobile team in 2006.

The Astana team, sponsored by a coalition of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan, is based in Switzerland has set up a strict anti-doping programme. They have recruited Spaniard Alberto Contador, who won this year's Tour de France, and the American Levi Leipheimer. In spite of Contador's arrival, Klöden insists his main objective is to win next summer's Tour.

© AFP 2007

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