Astana Cycling team management has terminated the contract of Russian cyclist Vladimir Gusev due to ‘irregular values’. The values were gathered during internal out-of-competition control tests, under the supervision of anti-doping expert Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard. The Team has applied the contractual clauses based on these physiological and biological abnormalities.
“Vladimir Gusev has been officially notified that he no longer represents Team Astana”, said general manager Johan Bruyneel. “Though his results do not indicate the use of forbidden substances, Vladimir’s values exceeded the normal parameters established by Dr. Damsgaard and were not compliant with the strict agreement signed by all thirty riders. Our Kazakh sponsors have also been made aware of this decision and are fully supportive.”
Bruyneel further commented: ”It’s impossible for any team manager to know the activities of riders behind closed doors, but we continue to enforce that Team Astana has a 100 percent no tolerance policy and any violators will serve the same fate as Vladimir. On a brighter note, this proves that Dr. Damsgaard’s system works and we are committed to racing clean.”
Bruyneel’s 2008 Astana team was not invited to the Tour de France, thwarting reigning champion Alberto Contador and third-place finisher Levi Leipheimer’s efforts to repeat or improve over last year’s results.
Under Dr. Damsgaard’s anti-doping system, Team Astana riders are frequently required to submit blood and urine samples, which are then sent to independent labs for analysis. This system, also instituted by CSC-Saxo Bank, is in addition to any sport or Olympic governing body’s tests.
“Certainly these situations are unfortunate, but I truly believe that we are continuing to see a cleaner sport with a large majority of credible riders. Teams like Astana and CSC-Saxo Bank have shown their full commitment to my program and I, in return, have committed all my resources to their firm anti-doping stance,” Dr. Damsgaard said.
According to team spokesman Philippe Maertens, Gusev’s release is effective immediately and he is ‘free to seek employment with another team or company’.