A message from KCF President Darkhan Kaletaev — Astana Pro Team

A message from KCF President Darkhan Kaletaev

 

This week Astana Pro Team will stand before the UCI's independent License Commission as they determine if the unprecedented step is taken to withdraw the squad's World Tour membership in the fourth month of the 2015 season -

For our riders, staff, partners and fans - as for all of professional cycling - the implications of Thursday's decision are enormously important -

We at Astana Pro Team and the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation approach this hearing not as defendants, nor as opponents of the UCI, but rather as key stakeholders with an opportunity to reconfirm unequivocally our proud and serious support for President's Cookson's drive to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs in our sport -

Past failures associated with the Astana team name mean that this Astana Pro Team is perhaps considered guilty until proven innocent. We are under no illusions that this scrutiny is the price to pay for sustained success and for past mistakes. And perhaps it is correct that the burden of proof lies equally upon both the participants and the governing body -

This is why Astana Pro Team is determined to follow the UCI and WADA codes, to help push anti-doping compliance forward with our own pro-active innovations and to help rid professional cycling of the biggest threat to its integrity, funding and future -

Let me make one thing absolutely clear: When Astana Pro Team’s license application was officially approved by the Licence Commission in December, our anti-doping policies were deemed compliant -

By the time the Licence Commission came to review Astana Pro Team’s application in 2014 our zero-tolerance policy on doping had been demonstrated time and again -

  • In our voluntary membership of the Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible;

  • In our voluntary testing of riders’ samples at the independent lab in Torino;

  • In our punishment of doping violations to the fullest possible extent allowed under Kazakh law and the WADA code

As our great champion Vincenzo Nibali said himself, there was a profound sense of betrayal in the camp following the two positive cases in 2014 - a feeling that the mindless, selfish behaviour of these cheating athletes had arrested the exciting upwards trajectory of this team in particular and of Kazakh cycling as a whole -

This sense of betrayal motivated us to take further decisive action, above and beyond our clean cycling credentials -

In the first quarter of 2015, Astana Pro Team has implemented an innovative digital platform to ease communication between riders, coaches, directors and medical staff, and significantly strengthen our out-of-competition tracking and reporting capabilities -

We have restructured our training teams, with five groups of six riders under the constant supervision of one sport director, and one doctor responsible for the same group of 10 riders throughout the season -

The fight against doping is a fight we must win -

The UCI Management Committee and the international cycling community can count on the total commitment of Astana Pro Team General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov, Team Manager Giuseppe Martinelli, and my own personal commitment to keep performance enhancing drugs out of the sport, under UCI President Cookson’s leadership -

That commitment will be laid down once again to the License Commission this week. We fully intend to demonstrate that the global fight against doping is stronger with the resources, passion and drive of Astana Pro Team -