- Jan 3, 2005
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AFP) — Under-fire cycling outfit Astana met with International Cycling Union (UCI) officials on Thursday to plead its case for a WorldTour racing license.
The UCI called for Astana’s license to be revoked over concerns about the Kazakh team’s practices regarding doping.
Should Astana lose its license, reigning Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali might lose the chance to defend his title in July.
Last year, five riders with either the professional WorldTour squad or the Kazakh team’s Continental affiliate failed doping tests.
The UCI initially gave Astana a WorldTour license in December on condition that the team cooperated with a study by Lausanne University’s Institute of Sport Sciences (ISSUL) on last year’s doping cases.
However, on reviewing the ISSUL report, the UCI called for the License Commission to withdraw Astana’s right to race.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that representatives of the UCI, the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) and the Astana Pro Team have today [Thursday] appeared before the License Commission,” said a brief UCI statement on the matter.
“As the proceeding is pending, the UCI will not be making any further comment on this matter.”
The WorldTour license gives access to the main international races, including the Tour de France and the grand tours of Italy and Spain.
Astana has said it would appeal any move to take away its license, meaning, in reality that Nibali is likely to be free to defend his Tour title before any binding decision is taken.
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