Disgraced Kashechkin pleads for return to peloton

Kazakh in training despite threat of ban

Disgraced Kazakh cyclist Andrey Kashechkin has pleaded for a team to sign him despite facing a ban for a positive test for blood doping following the Tour de France.

Kashechkin was sacked from the drug-tainted Astana team after he tested positive for homologous blood doping - using blood from a compatible donor to boost his performance - at an out-of-competition control in Turkey last August. Although he has contested the validity of that test, Kashechkin is facing a ban from the sport, a fate which is likely to befall his former teammate, compatriot Alexandre Vinokourov, after he too tested positive for blood doping. Since Vinokourov's positive test during the Tour de France, which led to the expulsion of the entire Astana team, he has retired from cycling.

Kashechkin meanwhile continues to hit out at the authorities over his positive test, and said through his lawyer, Luc Misson, that he is training in anticipation of joining a new team.

"He would be ready to accept a contract with a new team even with the stipulation that it (contract) could be suspended or cancelled if he were to be disciplined," said Misson. "... he continues to train and right now he is in great shape."

Misson has hit out at the sport's ruling body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), saying it has failed to send crucial documents relating to the case to its Kazakh counterpart. Initially, it is up to the Kazakh federation to dish out any suspension to Kashechkin.

"The UCI hasn't respected its own rules," said the Belgian lawyer.

© AFP 2007

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