Vinokourov will ride Vuelta
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Vinokourov will ride Vuelta

by Agence France-Presse at 3:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Doping
Disgraced cyclist Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan has been named in Astana's squad for the Tour of Spain, which begins this Saturday.

Vinokourov, who recently returned from a two-year doping ban handed out for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France, is likely to spearhead the Kazakh-backed team's bid for a top finish in the race's general classification.

The 35-year-old won the race in 2006.

Astana's Alberto Contador won last month's Tour de France, for a second time, after a tough three-week contest which he later said had been made more tense by the inclusion of seven-time champion Lance Armstrong in the team.

Armstrong has since announced his departure from Astana and is set to return to cycling next year as team leader with the new Radio Shack outfit.

Contador has another year's contract with Astana but is being widely tipped to go elsewhere.

Vinokourov spearheads a team which also includes American Chris Horner, Kazakhs Assan Bazayev and Maxim Iglinskiy, Spaniards Jesus Hernandez, Daniel Navarro, Jose Luis Rubiera and Haimar Zubeldia and Swiss Michael Schar.

A statement from Astana said Vinokourov would also race with the team through 2010.

"From August 24, 2009 Kazakh professional rider Alexandre Vinokourov will be part of Astana cycling Team, the team managed by Johan Bruyneel," said the statement.

"On that day Bruyneel and Rinus Wagtmans, the authorized representative for the Kazakh authorities, reached an agreement about the arrival of the Asian time trial champion."

Vinokourov's first race for the Team will be the Tour of Spain which starts next Saturday in Assen (Netherlands). Vinokourov signed a contract with Team Astana till the end of 2010."

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