Nibali wins Tour de France for Astana Pro Team of Kazakhstan
July 27. The Voice of Russia
Vincezno Nibali has won the 101st edition of the Tour de France for the Astana Pro Team of Kazakhstan. Nibali’s victory hails a supreme comeback from the team’s exclusion from the 2007 and 2008 tour because of drug use and Alberto Contador’s 2010 Tour de France victory for Astana that was later stripped from the Spaniard when he tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.
The Italian rider, Nibali, dominated this year’s tour for the Kazakhstan team and looked the favourite for the yellow jersey ever since previous winners Alberto Contador and Chris Froome both retired with a broken tibia and a broken wrist respectively.
Nibali completed his victory in the 2014 Tour de France on Sunday as German sprinter Marcel Kittel won the final stage on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
The 29-year-old Italian finished safely in the peloton to succeed Briton Chris Froome as Tour champion.
Jean-Christophe Peraud was second with fellow Frenchman Thibaut Pinot third.
Germany’s Kittel matched Nibali’s four stage wins on this Tour with Norway’s Alexander Kristoff second in Paris and Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania third.
Nibali’s winning margin of seven minutes, 52 seconds over Jean-Christophe Peraud in second is the biggest since Jan Ullrich in 1997.
Astana Pro Team were founded after a consortium of state-owned companies in Kazakhstan bought the Liberty Seguros-Würth team in 2007. The team were immediately thrown into turmoil after their Russian team leader Alexander Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping.
The team were then invited to retire from the Tour De France which they accepted. In total five riders that year, including Vinokourov were sacked by Astana for blood doping, using steroids and testosterone. Due to the prevalent use of drugs in the team they were also banned from competing in the flagship race in 2008 too.
Astana attempted to right the wrongs of 2007 by hiring the winner of that year’s tour, Alberto Contador. In the short-term their image was reformed as Contador won the 2008 Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.
Contador continued Astana’s road to recovery success by winning the 2009 Tour de France and the 2010 Tour de France. However Contador was retrospectively stripped of his 2010 victory after testing positive for clebuterol, a decongestant.