Success – at what price?

Astana said in a statement they had received confirmation that Vinokourov's B-sample had tested "non-negative". "Consequently, he has been sacked with immediate effect," it added.

Vinokourov, who denies blood doping, left the race on 24 July and, as a result of his positive test, Astana was invited by Tour organisers to pull out.

… The winner of last year's Tour of Spain, the 33-year-old placed third in Le Tour in 2003 and was strongly tipped for success in this year's event. If found guilty he faces a two-year ban and, according to the International Cycling Union's anti-doping charter, will have to pay a fine equal to a year's salary. Spaniard Alberto Contador of the Discovery Channel team won this year's Tour which was marred by doping scandals. Italian Cristian Moreni tested positive for the male sex hormone testosterone and his Cofidis team also left the race. Michael Rasmussen was sacked by his Rabobank team when leading the race for lying about his training whereabouts, an allegation the Dane denies. He had previously received two recorded warnings from the UCI for failing to provide the sport's governing body with his personal schedule.

… Spain's Iban Mayo has been suspended by the Saunier Duval team after failing a drugs test during the Tour de France. The mountain specialist tested positive for the banned blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO) on 24 July, which was the Tour's final rest day.

Mayo, 29, is a team-mate of Britain's David Millar, an outspoken critic of cycling's drug culture since serving a two-year ban, also for using EPO. In a statement, Mayo's employers said: "The Saunier Duval team were notified by the International Cycling Union (UCI) that Iban Mayo tested positive for EPO following a test on 24 July." The statement added that they had decided to suspend him immediately and would sack him if the B sample also tested positive test.

In June, Mayo was reported to have tested positive for excessive testosterone after a stage win in the Giro d'Italia.