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Astana cycling team skips Tour of Beijing over doping

Maxim Iglinsky. Photo © prosportkz.kz Maxim Iglinsky. Photo © prosportkz.kz

Kazakhstani cycling team Astana is not competing in the Tour of Beijing because of positive doping tests, Tengrinews reports citing the official website of the team.

The team's cycler Maxim Iglinskiy tested positively for erythropoietin (EPO) in the beginning of the month. Before that Valentin Iglinskiy, Maxim's brother, also got a positive result on his test.

Maxim Iglinskiy’s brother Valentin was fired from the Astana Pro Team after his test for erythropoietin (EPO) returned positive in September too. Erythropoietin is a banned blood-booster, a blood doping agent that improves oxygen delivery to muscles, and consequently, increases the athlete’s endurance.

This makes 2 racers within a 12 month period for the team, and according to the rules of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), if two riders return posit test within on year, the team has to abstain from participating in competitions for 8 days. For Astana Pro Team this meant missing their home race - The Tour of Almaty - and several foreign races including a large one in China - The Tour of Beijing, Giro dell’Emilia and GP Beghelli.

The prospect of missing the home show race was especially bad for the team, because it was supposed to show their Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali  in action on the roads of the team’s sponsors. But Maxim came up with a win-win solution to the problem. He delayed his decision to seek the analysis of his B sample for 5 days, which gave his team just the right amount of time to show themselves at their home race in Kazakhstan's Almaty on October 5 and even win it. The next day Iglinskiy announced that he would not seek the B sample analysis and Astana Pro Team declared a voluntary self-suspencsion.

“Astana Pro Team had to make the decision after Maxim Iglinskiy refused to made the counter analysis after his August 1, 2014 doping test sample returned positive. The team confirms its decision to comply with the rules of the MPCC,” the teams press office said.

In spite of the unusually long 5-day delay of Iglinskiy's decision, MPCC's president Roger Legeay saw no reason to reproach Astana Team’s actions.

“Astana respected the rules, they had to wait for a decision to be made about the B sample,” Legeay told Cyclingnews. “It’s not right to say that they should have missed Lombardy or Almaty. The news of the positive test emerged on Wednesday, then Iglinskiy confessed on Monday and the team suspended itself, which is a quick turnaround.”

Writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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