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Astana suspend Kashechkin

Team Astana is trying to clean up its image for 2013, suspending Andrey Kashechkin for failure to sign the team’s internal rules, and formally applying for membership in the Movement for a Credible Cycling.

The team announced Friday that it was provisionally suspendingKashechkin, “effective immediately, for failure to agree to the squad’s internal regulations. The Kazakhstan rider remains on the 2013 team roster, but can not be included in race calendar submissions until his signature is received on Pro Team Astana’s internal Code of Conduct.”

Kashechkin served a two-year suspension for blood doping, returning to racing in June 2010.

Astana has also applied to join the MPCC, the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible “as stakeholders in professional cycling and in full recognition of the importance in demonstrating publicly our determination to prevent doping.”

The team admitted that “Past practices in cycling have put “the reputation, image and viability of the sport at serious risk. Neither the doping practices nor the environment that served to enable them can ever be allowed to happen again.”

The team said that the MPCC’s Code of Conduct is “ a credible, voluntary step towards protecting and reestablishing the positive, clean image of professional cycling.

“We share the MPCC’s belief that riders, managers and sponsors in professional cycling have the obligation and capacity to say no to doping, and call on the UCI to recognize the MPCC as a viable intermediary among teams, organizers and Cycling Federations.”

The Astana team has a checkered past, with several doping cases in recent years. Alberto Contador was with Astana when he tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France. Both Kashechkin and team principal  Alexander Vinokourov were suspended for blood doping, while Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel, both named by the USADA, were with the team in 2009.—————————————————————————————————–

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