Astana Withdraws, Vino Suspended
By Phil Liggett
July 24, 2007
Alexandre Vinokourov’s positive blood test announced Tuesday has stunned everyone from riders to organizers. Since his crash, he has been portrayed as a limping hero of what, so far, has been a marvellous Tour. Now, he seems to have been caught introducing homologous blood into his system just before the time trial he won in demonstrative fashion.
His Astana team has withdrawn at the invitation of the organizers and Vinokourov was suspended by Astana pending the confirmation of his positive test in his B analysis. It is very unusual for the second test not to confirm the first. In short, Vinokourov, one of the most respected riders in the peloton, will now leave the sport in disgrace.
British rider David Millar, himself a reformed drug taker, has been leading the campaign to clean up the sport. His comment during his own Saunier Duval team’s press conference in Pau, sums up the feelings of most: “I just feel like crying right now.”
Paul, Bob and I are, for once, speechless. We are all very upset with such a stupid action at a time the sport looked to be putting its own house in order. It is incomprehensible that Vinokourov could do such a thing when he must have known he was under suspicion because of his dealing with disgraced doctor Michele Ferrari in Italy. He must have known he would be tested at every opportunity and the time trial was the perfect occasion.
Tomorrow we will know more.
It’s a sad day for the sport of cycling. After all the respect that was given to him for his courage for continuing while being injured. Vino has tested positive for intoducing “homologous blood” into his system. Below is an article from versus.com. Also a link to an article from BBC: