Milan: The second division Continental team Astana has been suspended from competition and its manager, Dmitri Sedoun, has been sacked following a third positive doping case, the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation announced Friday.
"The managing board of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation has decided to suspend the activity of the Astana Continental Team while an internal investigation into doping cases is carried out," said a statement by the Kazakhstan Federation, which runs and manages the team.
"Dmitri Sedoun, the general manager of Astana Continental Team, has been dismissed from his position."
Three riders from the Kazakhstan outfit`s Continental (second division) team have tested positive this year, Artur Fedosseyev adding his name last week to a doping blacklist already featuring Victor Okishev and Ilya Davidenok.
The Continental team is a separate entity from the Astana Pro Tour team of Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali.
Astana, however, have also seen two riders, brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy, test positive for banned substances recently.
Those cases have left Astana`s future in the professional ranks of cycling in the balance.
Last month, the sport`s governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), announced it had asked its Licence Commission to "undertake a full review of the management and anti-doping policies of the Astana Pro Team".
Meanwhile, the KCF, which runs the Continental outfit, said it had taken steps to reinforce anti-doping measures.
KCF president Kairat Kelimbetov said the body, in conjunction with management from the Astana Pro Team, will "carry out a thorough investigation of the doping cases in the Continental Team.
"Our strategic policy is for clean Kazakhstan cycling. I can assure you that the investigation will be organised in full accordance with the UCI rules and its outcome to be announced in due course."