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CAS: Vino’ stays sidelined until July 24

By Agence France Presse

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed Tuesday that disgraced Kazakh cyclist Alexandre Vinokourov must serve out a two-year doping ban until late July.

In a statement the court said it had set aside the one-year suspension handed down by Kazakhstan’s cycling federation in December 2007, following an arbitration request.

It decided instead that Vinokourov’s period of ineligibility, which was applicable after he and his Astana team were expelled from the 2007 Tour de France for blood doping, should run for two years under international cycling rules.

“Mr. Vinokourov will be eligible to compete in international competitions as of 24 July 2009,” it added.

The preliminary decision, which followed an arbitration request by the rider, his national federation and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), effectively vindicated UCI chief Pat McQuaid’s complaints that the original Kazakh ruling was too lenient.

Vinokourov had retired after the doping ban, telling a December 2007 news conference: “I don’t want this sport anymore … I’m slamming the door and I’m leaving.”

More recently, he has said he wants to launch a comeback, preferably with Astana, alongside Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador.

“My dream would be to win the world championship and wear the rainbow jersey for my last year in 2010,” he said last month.

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