Following yesterday’s story of Astana hiring Andrei Kashechkin in breach of the UCI’s rules, it seems there’s been some behind the scenes work to fix things. A rider has vanished the list of Astana riders overnight.
The story so far is that Kashechkin should not have been allowed to join Astana as the squad was already at the upper limit of 28 riders. But the UCI approved the transfer from Lampre, issuing the requisite paperwork in time for “Kash” to start the Vuelta. In defence, the UCI apparently told L’Equipe that they were led to believe Vinokourov had retired… but Vino denies this, indeed the UCI never removed Vinokourov from the team listings or its rankings.
Although I’d be interested to know how this mess occurred, it’s created an embarrassing situation for Astana and the UCI.
The solution? Well a rider has disappeared from the team’s listings. Yesterday I visited www.uciprotour.com to check and Astana had a rule-breaking 29 riders. Today you can count 28 riders on the team’s page on the same website. Something’s changed and it seems Roman Kireyev got quietly ejected this morning. You can see for yourself with Google cache.
Ironically for a team from an ex-Soviet country, this time it seems the UCI has airbrushed him. He’s still listed on the team’s website (at the time of writing) but not with the UCI. You have to feel sorry for him, poor Kireyev has been racing with the team until recently, for example he took part in the recent Tour de l’Ain, finishing a dependable 40th overall. Only now he’s vanished and I hope someone has told him about this. One minute he had a pro licence, the next it was gone.
It seems harsh, Kireyev might not have set the world of pro cycling alight but now it looks like his pro status has disappeared overnight and he might never get a chance again to prove what he’s capable of. I hope the rider has been well-compensated for this sudden change in his status as it is not fair on a lowly rider to see their position change overnight because of the mistakes of others.
With one more rider than the rules allow, something had to be done at Astana following Kashechkin’s arrival on the squad. But it seems tough on a modest rider to find himself ejected from the team as a response, especially since Kireyev has nothing to do with the administrative bungling.