Vinokourov and Kashechkin return to world's after bans

Kazakhstan's disgraced duo back in business

Kazakhstan riders Andrey Kashechkin and Alexandre Vinokourov will compete in Thursday's time trial at the world road race championships after completing recent bans for doping.

Vinokourov, a former podium finisher on the Tour de France, completed a two-year ban for blood doping at the 2007 edition of the race in July.

Vinokourov who helped create the Astana team, returned to competition with the Kazakh-backed outfit in August and went on to race the Tour of Spain, where his best finish was fourth in the 10th stage won by Australian Simon Gerrans. The 36-year-old abandoned the race two days later.

An even bigger question mark hangs over his fellow Kazakh Kashechkin.

Also found guilty of homologous blood doping, which is using blood from a compatible donor to enhance performance, after a random doping control in August 2007, he has yet to find a professional team.

After Astana were thrown out of the 2007 Tour de France the team was taken over by Johan Bruyneel, the man who helped Lance Armstrong to his seven Tour de France triumphs.

Current Tour de France champion Alberto Contador of Spain still rides for Astana but wants out of the remainder of his contract, which still has one year to run.

Neither Kazakh rider is considered a favourite for Thursday's time trial over 49.8km, in which Britain's Bradley Wiggins will be among the main challengers to Swiss favourite Fabian Cancellara.

© AFP 2009

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