Johan Bruyneel to Astana Pro Cycling

Interesting. Johan Bruyneel is heading from Disco (After their dissolution) to the Kazakh team, Astana. Astana, as you may recall, was withdrawn from le Tour after their leader popped positive. Optimists will say that this is a sign that Astana wants to run a clean program. Pessimists will say that they want the best doper in the business heading their show – after all, how could Lance have won 7 in a row straight, and haven’t a string of Disco alumni popped positive once they’ve gone on to other teams?

Anyway, here’s the press release:

New management structure to usher team into 2008.

Astana, Kazakhstan. – Today, the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation (KCF) in cooperation with Johan Bruyneel, officially announced a partnership which results in the continued support and commitment to the Astana Pro Cycling Team. The KCF is steadfast in its support of the Astana Team as a part of its global strategy to promote cycling in Kazakhstan.

The KCF sought out Johan Bruyneel, arguably the most accomplished Sports Director in the history of cycling. Bruyneel who has eight Tour de France titles to his name will take on the role as Astana Pro Cycling team General Manager beginning in 2008. “It was not an easy decision to return to cycling after my recent announcement in August, however, in my new role with Astana I have found new challenges and I am excited to help the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation grow the sport in the country”, stated Johan Bruyneel. “After the 2007 season, this team had no choice but to make big changes if it wanted to continue on, and I am proud to be the person they have chosen to lead this program”.

As we recall this year some of team’s riders were linked to using performance enhancing drugs. In spite of these issues the KCF firmly decided to move forward, having conducted large-scale changes in its activity management.

Besides the KCF has stated that the Astana Pro Cycling Team will have no connection at all to any of the implicated team members (Kessler, Mazzoleni, Vinokorouv, Kaschechkin) either directly or indirectly.

Under Bruyneel’s guidance, the Team will strictly abide by the UCI Pro Team Code of Conduct as well as any and all anti-doping measures agreed to by the UCI or the Team’s Union.

Additionally, the Astana Team has taken further measures by prescribing to the anti-doping program developed by Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard and utilized by Team CSC in 2007. The Damsgaard anti-doping system is currently the most effective and comprehensive program available.

KCF’s Chairman Danial Akhmetov noted that “Astana Pro Cycling Team is a national project. And we will by all means help it on to become one of the best professional cycling teams. I am fully convinced that our riders will occupy a worthy place in world’s elite”.

Although the 2008 Astana Cycling roster has not yet been finalized, the composition will include a mix of Kazakh and other world-class riders from around the globe.