UCI awaiting confirmation from Astana team in relation to Vinokourov and Kireyev
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

UCI awaiting confirmation from Astana team in relation to Vinokourov and Kireyev

by Shane Stokes at 9:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Team size issue continues, governing body told domestique is no longer part of lineup

AstanaThe UCI has confirmed that it is currently awaiting clarification from the Astana squad in relation to its 2011 roster and the fact that it may be in breach of the governing body’s rules in relation to maximum team size. It is also looking for information in relation to the removal of another rider from the lineup, the Kazakhstan competitor Roman Kireyev.

“We are waiting for further information from the Astana team on these matters,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told VeloNation today.

The team size issue cropped up in recent days when Alexandre Vinokourov reversed a stated decision to retire following injuries sustained in a crash in the Tour de France, thus bringing the team’s total of riders to 29. Astana recently re-signed its former rider Andrey Kashechkin in a mid-season transfer, enabling him to take the slot vacated by Vinokourov’s place, and to lead the team in the Vuelta a España.

Under UCI regulations, most teams are allowed 28 riders only; the sole exception to the rule is if they feature neo-pros, which allows the roster to increase. This exception does not apply to the Astana squad, which was at full capacity prior to Vinokourov’s crash during the Tour de France. He announced that he was retiring and the team instead brought Kashechkin across from the Lampre squad.

However in recent days Vinokourov announced that he planned to return to the sport. He subsequently told L’Equipe that he felt that the team had acted incorrectly.

“I'm still a rider. I have a contract in force,” he told the newspaper. “I am particularly disappointed by what has just taken place in secret at my expense.”

Carpani confirmed to VeloNation this afternoon that the governing body was monitoring both this situation plus Kireyev’s removal from the team roster.

“The situation is that the UCI did accept Kashechkin as the 28th rider of the team, bearing in mind that Mr Vinokurov was retiring,” he explained. “A few hours later, Vinokourov said ‘I think I am coming back’. In that case, Astana were not within the rules as they had a 29th rider.

“It is not our mistake, as L’Equipe wrote, because we trusted Vino when he said that he will retire. On Friday night, the UCI wrote a letter to the Astana team saying that they are not following the rules and that they need to correct the situation.”

Since that message was sent, the team’s roster underwent a change. As first noted by the blogger Inrng yesterday, the domestique Roman Kireyev disappeared from the lineup listed on the UCI ProTour website. This morning, he has been reinstated and Kashechkin’s name is now missing. However the UCI has confirmed to VeloNation that it has indeed been informed that the domestique is no longer part of the team.

Without wishing to comment specifically on the Kireyev situation, Carpani acknowledged that the UCI has very specific rules in relation to the termination of contracts.

According to section 8.2 of Article 2.15.139 of the UCI’s regulations, there is a set circumstance under which a team can dismiss a rider:

"The Employer may terminate the present contract, without notice or liability for damages, in the event of serious misconduct on the part of the Rider or of the suspension of the Rider under the terms of the UCI regulations for the remaining duration of the present contract.

"Serious misconduct is considered to include refusal to ride cycle races, despite being repeatedly called on to do so by the Employer. If need be, the Rider shall have to prove that he was in no state to compete in a race."

Kireyev competed in the Tour of Austria in July and ten days ago finished 40th in the Tour de l'Ain stage race. Under the UCI’s rules, there is no provision to simply dismiss a rider in order to enable others to take up places on a team.

The Astana squad has not yet commented on the issue. Carpani said that the UCI is seeking confirmation from Astana about Kireyev’s status, and about the general situation in relation to the team size.


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