The Astana cycling team – home to Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali – will not compete in the upcoming Tour of Beijing after they enforced the rules of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) whereby a team is automatically suspended for a week because of two doping infractions within a year.

The decision by Astana, who are run by controversial former rider Alexandre Vinokourov, will see them not only miss the final event in the WorldTour calendar, which runs from October 10-14, but also the two semi-classics the Tour of Emilia and the Beghelli Grand Prix.

“All the team must not compete during this period,” the MPCC said.

“This temporary suspension will allow the team to put in place measures that they judge useful.”

Since the summer Astana has seen Kazakh duo Valentin Iglinsky and his older brother Maxim test positive for EPO.

Astana, who only signed up to the MPCC in 2013, is the third team to apply the rule following Rusvelo and AG2R, one of the founding members of the body created in 2007, who both had two doping cases apiece within the time limit. 

In the meantime, Spanish cycling stars Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde both withdrew from the last WorldTour event of the season the Tour of Beijing.

Contador, who gained rich consolation for his early exit from this year’s Tour de France by winning the Tour of Spain, fell on the final corner of Sunday’s Tour of Lombardy and said after training on Monday he would not be able to compete in the Chinese race that takes place from October 10-14.

“I was finding it tough to pedal in training because my knee was sore,” said the 31-year-old after he had been present for the unveiling of the route for next year’s Tour of Italy.

While Contador will undergo further scans on his knee Valverde, who is certain to finish the season as WorldTour number one, didn’t give a reason for his withdrawal. – Agence France-Presse

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