Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Doping scandal piling up on Tour de France

By Samuel Abt Published: July 24, 2007

PAU, France: In a new and stunning doping scandal, the Tour de France's organizers evicted the Astana team on Tuesday after its leader, Alexandre Vinokourov, tested positive for an illegal blood transfusion.

Vinokourov, a 33-year-old Kazakh, failed the test after he won an individual time trial on Saturday. The early favorite in the Tour, he also won a stage in the Pyrenees on Monday but was low in the overall standings because of time lost after crashes last week and Sunday.

"It was the only decision possible - to ask the team to leave," said Patrice Clerc, the chairman of the race's organizers. "It's true that Vinokourov is a personality, that he has panache and that the fans liked him especially. We all feel cheated."

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