The Kazakh cycling federation on Tuesday voiced their staunch support for disgraced rider Alexandre Vinokourov who was excluded from the Tour de France following his positive test for blood doping.
"We are going to support the position that the results of the A and B samples were a direct result of the violent fall Alexandre suffered during the fifth stage of the cycling race," said the executive director of the federation, Aleksandr Antychev.
He also added that the federation would dispute, in the courts, the exclusion from the Tour of the entire Astana team, of which Vinokourov was team leader.
"To jump to conclusions, today, and say there was doping going on, we categorically reject this notion," said deputy sports minister, Kairat Aitekenov. "We believe that the Court's decision will be objective and in favour of our riders," said Aitekenov.
According to Aitekenov, the case will be judged in Lausanne, Switzerland, before a sports court but failed to disclose a specific date for the trial.
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 by his team 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