Nov 26, 2014 – Kazakhstan and its professional cycling team Astana, whose star rider is Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali, were rocked by yet another doping scandal on Wednesday with the news that a fifth rider had failed a drug test.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

Artur Fedosseyev, 20, from the Astana Continental, or reserve team, tested positive for steroids on August 16 during the Tour of Ain, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said Wednesday.

Fedosseyev thus became the third Astana Continental team member to fail a test this year following Victor Okishev, at May’s Asian Championships, and Ilya Davidenok, at August’s Tour de l’Avenir — the junior version of the Tour de France — who both also failed tests for steroids.

That is on top of two more Kazakhs, brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy, of the professional Astana team, who were banned after testing positive for the banned blood-booster EPO. After the third of the five positive tests, the UCI asked its license
commission to undertake a full review of the management and anti-doping policies of the Astana team. A decision has yet to be made whether or not to grant Astana a World Tour licence for 2015.

Astana were excluded from the 2008 Tour de France after a series of doping scandals at that time, denying then-Tour champion Alberto Contador the opportunity to defend his title. It was also the time when current team manager Alexandre Vinokourov was an
Astana rider and was himself serving a two-year ban for a blood transfusion.

Astana were interviewed by the UCI earlier this month with relation to their internal drug-testing policies and subsequently announced a collaboration with the Kazakh anti-doping agency to monitor their riders’ biological passports.