Astana dismisses reports that it will sign Fränk Schleck, describes stories as imaginative
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Monday, July 08, 2013

Astana dismisses reports that it will sign Fränk Schleck, describes stories as imaginative

by Shane Stokes at 7:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Team says it remains committed to being part of the MPCC organisation and to following its rules

Frank SchleckThe Astana team has dismissed suggestions today that Fränk Schleck is on the way to the team for the remainder of the season, and that he could be joined there by his brother Andy from 2014 onwards.

French newspaper L’Equipe and Belgian publication Het Nieuwsblad have reported that the Kazakhstani team may be bringing the elder of the two brothers on board after the Leopard Trek setup announced that it would not re-engage him when his current suspension ends.

He was handed a one year ban after testing positive for the diuretic Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France.

According to those reports, Schleck would join the team in time to ride the Vuelta a España.

However the squad has itself denied the claims today.

“Last week there were stories about Ivan Basso joining, now we have this today,” a team spokesman told VeloNation this morning. “The Astana pro team we are as amused as anybody else by these rumours. We are encouraged by L’Equipe’s imagination and we look forward to whatever transfer rumours it comes up with next week. The story is not true.”

One apparent clash with the story is that Astana is a member of the anti-doping group MPCC, which has strict rules against re-engaging riders who have served sanctions. Under its guidelines, member teams must not ‘sign up a rider who has a suspension of more than six months [with the exception of whereabouts cases] for a period of two years after the suspension.”

If Astana were to sign Fränk Schleck, it seems clear under its rules that it would have to leave the group. However the team ruled that out today. “We are part of the MPCC for the duration,” the team said. “We don’t plan on leaving it, therefore the team will follow the guidelines of the MPCC.”

While the RadioShack Leopard team has indicated that it won’t work with Fränk Schleck, its current owner Flavio Becca will only be involved until the end of the year.

Ownership of the WorldTour licence will then transfer to the Trek company, and a completely different policy may exist as regards the elder brother’s place on the team.

The squad is not currently part of the MPCC, so that obstacle does not exist.

Andy Schleck has said repeatedly that he and his brother will not race on separate teams, meaning that anyone signing him must accept his older brother too.

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