ASTANA OFFICIALLY SIGN BRUYNEEL
A press release from the Kazakh Cycling Federation (KCF) published on Friday morning confirms that they have signed Johan Bruyneel as Astana team manager for 2008. But, as yet , there is no mention of whether the team will sign 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador or not.
Currently the team manager of Discovery Channel, which is pulling out this December, Bruyneel will now take control at Astana for the next season.
“It was not an easy decision to return to cycling after my recent announcement in August [that he was retiring], however, in my new role with Astana I have found new challenges and I am excited to help the Kazakh Cycling Federation,” Bruyneel said in the release.
“After the 2007 season, this team had no choice but to make big changes if it wanted to continue, and I am proud to be the person they have chosen to lead this program.”
Amongst those changes is the yet-to-be-resolved team’s separation from it’s current team manager, Marc Biver. Biver's contract runs out in 2010. Nor is there any mention of which riders will finally be signed.
The KCF also insists that Astana will have no connections with the four riders linked either directly or indirectly to doping affairs; Andrey Kashechkin, Alexandre Vinokourov, Eddy Mazzoleni and Matthias Kessler.
Perhaps most significantly of all, in a bid to further gain credibility, Astana says it will prescribe to the anti-doping program created by Dr Rasmus Damsgaard and used by CSC in 2007. CSC’s directeur sportif Alain Gallopin has been signed by Astana as part of their new team management for 2008.
Astana also promise to abide by the UCI Pro Team Code of Conduct as well as “any and all anti-doping measures agreed to by the UCI and the teams union.”
However, it has yet to be resolved whether Astana will actually remain a ProTour team in 2008 - something the UCI will have to decide over the few weeks.
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