Vincenzo Nibali's Astana hit with fifth positive drugs test

By Matt SlaterBBC Sport
Astana Pro Team was founded in 2007 and is backed by group of state-owned firms from Kazakhstan

Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali's Astana set-up were plunged deeper into crisis when it was revealed a fifth rider had failed a drugs test.

Artur Fedosseyev, 20, tested positive for anabolic steroids to join Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy, Ilya Davidenok and Viktor Okishev on the list of shame.

The timing could not be worse, with cycling's governing body currently reviewing Astana's WorldTour licence.

All five riders are from Kazakhstan, where the team has its base.

Fedosseyev rides for Astana's Continental-level development team with Davidenok and Okishev, and he failed a drugs test at the Tour de l'Ain in France on 16 August.

Davidenok and Okishev also tested positive for steroids this summer, while the Iglinskiy brothers failed a test for the blood-boosting drug EPO.

Maxim Iglinskiy, the winner of the gruelling Liege-Bastogne-Liege race in 2012, was part of Nibali's nine-man team at the Tour de France and failed his test a few days after reaching Paris.

World cycling's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), asked its licence commission to look at Astana's application to race in 2015 after the first three positive tests emerged.

Since then, Okishev and now Fedosseyev have added to the team's shame. A decision from the UCI is expected next month.

After Okishev's positive was announced, Nibali told the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport that these "idiots" had nothing to do with him.

"The problem is certainly not mine," the 30-year-old Italian said.

"I think about myself and I have a clear conscience. I can't give answers for their problems."

Nibali became only the sixth rider to claim all three Grand Tour titles (Italy, France and Spain) when he won the Tour de France in July.

Astana's general manager is Alexander Vinokourov, the 2012 Olympic road race champion who served a two-year ban for doping at the 2007 Tour de France.