August 18, 2007 – German cyclist, Andreas KlÃ¶den confirmed rumours that he will quit the Astana team and said that joining the Kazakh squad in 2006 was “an error” reports AFP. In hindsight, KlÃ¶den, 32, wishes he had prolonged his contract with T-Mobile instead. He finished second at the
2004 Tour de France and third in 2006 but was unable to finish the 2007 TdF after team captain, Alexander Vinokourov, failed a July 24 doping test indicating an homologous (from another donor) blood transfusion. Consequently, the entire Astana team withdrew from the race.
Kloden rode with T-Mobile (and its predecessor, Telekom) from 1998 to 2006, when he signed with Astana. Critics questioned the wisdom of that move, pointing out that he could have become the leader with T-Mobile, but not with Astana where Vinokourov occupied the top spot. This led to speculation that Kloden may have been trying to avoid T-Mobile’s vigorous internal doping tests. T-Mobile’s Director of Communication, Christian Frommert, denied that Kloden’s return to that team was likely. Kloden has his own explanation of events posted on his website www.andreas-kloeden.com.
Meanwhile, a press release (in French) on the Astana Cycling Team website, www.team-astana.eu, dated Monday announces that organizers of the Vuelta have not invited Astana to take part in the race and that the team regrets, but respects this decision.