PARIS (Reuters) - Astana were rocked by another doping case on Wednesday when the International Cycling Union (UCI) said Kazakh Victor Okishev had tested positive.
”The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that it has notified UCI Continental Team Astana Kazakh rider Victor Okishev of an Adverse Analytical Finding of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids in a sample collected at the Asian Cycling Championships on 29 May 2014, the UCI said in a statement.
“The rider has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample.”
Okishev rides for Astana Continental (third division), which is technically a different entity to the Astana World Tour (elite) team.
Sources told Reuters, however, that Okishev’s case would be taken into consideration, although not officially, by the License Commission, who has been reviewing Astana’s case in the wake of a string of recent doping affairs.
Last month, the UCI officially asked the License Commission to review Astana’s status after the Kazakh outfit was hit by a third positive doping test this year.
Kazakh brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy, as well as trainee Iliya Davidenok, also of Kazakhstan, failed dope tests this season.
Astana officials were heard by the License Commission on Nov. 6, a cycling source told Reuters, and the UCI has yet to receive their recommendations.
Earlier the UCI said Astana, who are managed by ex-doper Alexandre Vinokourov and have Italian Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali in their ranks, could have “conditions attached to their license”.
Astana are members of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible (Movement for Credible Cycling or MPCC), which enforces stricter anti-doping rules than the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
In accordance with those rules, Astana suspended themselves for the season-ending Tour of Beijing last month because they have had two doping cases in the team in the past 12 months.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris