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Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 18:26 UK

Racing return excites Vinokourov

Alexandre Vinokourov
Vinokourov finished third in the 2003 Tour de France

Alexander Vinokourov is delighted to be returning from a two-year doping ban by riding in a low-key one-day race in south-western France on Tuesday.

The Kazakh rider, who has been eligible to race since 24 July, will take part in the event at Castillon-la-Bataille.

"I need to recapture my pace but it'll come back fast," the 35-year-old said.

He was suspended for two years after being thrown out of the 2007 Tour de France after testing positive for a banned blood transfusion.

Vinokourov has also entered next week's Tour de l'Ain in Jura, France.

"This is my great comeback, it's a unique feeling," he added. "It's great to have a bib on again. It's like being back in the family.

Vinokourov finished third in the 2003 Tour de France, and fifth in 2005.

It is not known whether he will rejoin his former team Astana, which was created by and for him in 2006.

606: DEBATE

In a press conference before this year's Tour de France, Vinokourov said he did not want to join another team when he resumed his career.

But there are doubts over the future of the Kazakhstan team, with this year's Tour de France winner Alberto Contador yet to decide whether he will stay on.

"The goal is to build a team around Alberto," Vinokourov said. "I'd work for him but the decision belongs to him."

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who finished third in this year's race, has already confirmed he will be leaving Astana to form a US-based team, Radio Shack, in 2010.



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see also
Tour stage winner tests positive
31 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Contador seals 2009 Tour victory
26 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong to launch new US team
23 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Vinokourov has to wait for return
16 Jun 09 |  Cycling
Contador to lead Astana Tour team
25 Jun 09 |  Cycling
Banned Vinokourov quits cycling
07 Dec 07 |  Cycling
B-sample confirms Vino positive
28 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Vinokourov fails Tour doping test
24 Jul 07 |  Cycling


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