Vinokourov issues apology of sorts for Tour 2007 positive
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vinokourov issues apology of sorts for Tour 2007 positive

by Conal Andrews at 7:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 

Kazakh rider Alexandre Vinokourov has given an apology of sorts to Tour de France organisers ASO, appearing to accept that the doping cases involving he and Andrey Kashechkin in 2007 had damaged the image of the race.

“If the organiser just sits and waits for me to apologize, then I would then like to do it. I very much hope that we can get to start,” he told the Le Parisien newspaper. While his Astana team is set to ride this year’s Tour, he has not yet been told if he is welcome to return.

Vinokourov has never admitted transfusing someone else’s blood during the race. He won two stages but was then deemed to have undergone a homologous transfusion, with the positive test being taken on the day he won the first long time trial in the race.

He had been under scrutiny since the start of the Tour for admitting he was a client of the controversial doctor Michele Ferrari.

He was banned for one year by the Kazakh cycling federation, a suspension that was criticised for being far too light. He retired from the sport but then indicated that he wanted to return, doing so in August 2009.

Vinokourov restarted his career with the Astana cycling team and took three victories against the clock, namely the time trial stage of the Tour de l’Ain, the Chrono des Nations and the Asian TT championship.

He has said that his main goals in 2010 are the Giro d’Italia, as well as helping Alberto Contador to win what would be his third Tour de France.

Vinokourov’s apology stops short of an actual admission of guilt, and it remains to be seen how ASO will react. “I have not ruined my sporting image. I got a two year suspension and stopped, but I can still add pretty things to this sport,” he said. “The system does not ask why things happen. They said: you were doped. I said, okay, if that is what you think…after which I spent millions on lawyers.”

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