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Last Updated: Monday, 30 July 2007, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Vinokourov fired by Astana team
Alexandre Vinokourov
Vinokourov was third in the 2003 Tour de France
Alexandre Vinokourov has been sacked by the Astana team following his positive test for blood doping during the Tour de France.

The Kazakh, who was Astana's lead rider and the pre-race favourite, failed a doping test after winning a time trial stage on Saturday, 21 July.

Astana said in a statement they had received confirmation that Vinokourov's B-sample had tested "non-negative".

"Consequently, he has been sacked with immediate effect," it added.

Vinokourov, who denies blood doping, left the race on 24 July and, as a result of his positive test, Astana were invited by Tour organisers to pull out.

The winner of last year's Tour of Spain, the 33-year-old placed third in Le Tour in 2003 and was strongly tipped for success in this year's event.


If found guilty he faces a two-year ban and, according to the International Cycling Union's anti-doping charter, will have to pay a fine equal to a year's salary.

Spaniard Alberto Contador of the Discovery Channel team won this year's Tour which was marred by doping scandals.

Italian Cristian Moreni tested positive for the male sex hormone testosterone and his Cofidis team also left the race.

Michael Rasmussen was sacked by his Rabobank team when leading the race for lying about his training whereabouts, an allegation the Dane denies.

He had previously received two recorded warnings from the UCI for failing to provide the sport's governing body with his personal schedule.

Last year's Tour champion Floyd Landis is awaiting the ruling of a US arbitration panel after testing positive for testosterone during the 2006 race.

He denies using performance-enhancing substances.

Turning point for the Tour
29 Jul 07 |  Cycling
B-sample confirms Vino positive
28 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Vinokourov takes Pyrenean stage
23 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Vinokourov dominates time-trial
21 Jul 07 |  Cycling


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