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For the women’s cycling team, see Astana Women’s Team. ดู eurosport 2013 Wien Siegerehrung Team Astana 02. Astana first became involved in sponsoring cycling during the 2006 season.

However, Saiz was reluctant to sell, so Astana applied for a licence in their own right. The Astana team was not invited to the 2008 Giro d’Italia based on failing to meet the criteria of ethics, quality, or internationality. However, on 3 May, one week before the start of the race, Giro organizers chose to extend a last-minute invitation to Astana. Astana’s strict anti-doping policy came to the forefront later in the year. On 28 July Astana fired Vladimir Gusev for showing “abnormal values” in an internal doping check.

On 25 September 2008, it was confirmed that Lance Armstrong – at the time considered a seven-time Tour de France winner – would leave retirement to ride for the team in the 2009 season. Along with Armstrong and Popovych, Astana also signed Jesús Hernández, who had joined the former Liberty Seguros team in 2004 when Alberto Contador was one of the riders there, and Basque rider Haimar Zubeldia. The team’s first victory of the season was the 6th stage, followed by the general classification, of the Tour of California by Levi Leipheimer. Armstrong’s participation in the Tour was cast into doubt in late March, after he suffered a broken collarbone in the Vuelta a Castilla y León that required surgical repair. However, Armstrong was able to recover in time to ride in the 2009 Giro d’Italia. On 6 May 2009, Astana admitted that it had failed to pay its riders amid the financial crisis in Kazakhstan, but a team spokesman said that this was only a delay, that the team was not in danger of folding, and that the team would compete in the 2009 Giro d’Italia as planned.

Organizationally, Astana had an unusual structure. Although the Kazakh team holds the UCI license and pays the salaries, the individual rider contracts and equipment leases are held by Bruyneel’s Luxembourg-based Olympus SARL, so the team could continue with merely a license transfer. During stage 7 of the Giro, eight of the nine Astana riders, including Armstrong, rode in jerseys with the non-paying sponsors’ names nearly faded out in protest over the team’s unpaid salaries and remained in such jerseys for the rest of the Giro. The only rider not to participate was Andrey Zeits from Kazakhstan. Garmin-Slipstream for the Tour de France if Armstrong were to take over the Astana team. On 2 July, Vinokourov stated that he would return to Astana, which he noted was “created for me and thanks to my efforts”, when his suspension ended, and that he would ride for Astana in the 2009 Vuelta a España.

He stated that he expected to reach agreement with Bruyneel about his return within the week, but that “if Bruyneel does not want me, it will be Bruyneel who is leaving the team. On 21 July, with Contador, Armstrong and Klöden holding three of the top four places in the Tour de France, Bruyneel told Belgian channel VRT that Astana as currently constituted was “finished” and that he would be leaving the team, as Vinokourov and the Kazakh federation had discussed, at the end of the season. The immediate result of Vinokourov’s return and Bruyneel’s departure was a mass exodus from Astana. Although Bruyneel still had a year to run on his contract, Astana permitted his departure in return for him not blocking Vinokourov’s return. Contador also had a year on his contract, and Astana refused to permit his departure. Vincenzo Nibali en route to winning the 2013 Giro d’Italia and 2014 Tour de France. The team recorded its first doping positive in April, 2007, when Matthias Kessler tested positive for testosterone following a surprise control in Charleroi and later analysis of his B-sample.

Following the doping problems of 2007, the sponsors of Astana replaced Biver with Johan Bruyneel, the former directeur sportif of the defunct Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. On 13 February 2008, the organisers of both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France announced that Astana would be barred from their 2008 Grand Tours, due to the team’s links to Operación Puerto and involvement in the 2007 Tour doping scandals. In 2009, after returning from retirement, Lance Armstrong was accused by the French anti-doping agency of acting improperly by disappearing from the sight of the anti-doping investigator for 20 minutes. In September 2010, Alberto Contador returned a positive doping test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. In 2011, Roman Kreuziger finished 5th at the Giro d’Italia as well as winning the best young rider classification.

Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Levi Leipheimer, Dr. Luis del Moral are heavily implicated in the mass doping scandal which surrounded the U. Subsequently, a sample taken at the Tour de l’Avenir in August from Ilya Davidenok, a rider with the Astana Continental Team and a stagiaire with the Astana Pro Team, tested positive for anabolic steroids. The UCI stated that the audit revealed a large difference between the team policies presented to the Licence Commission and reality. ASTANA AND HIGH ROAD NOT INVITED TO 2008 GIRO D’ITALIA”. Gusev back in action after CAS decision”. Swiss International Arbitration Law Reports, 2007-2009 Vols.