As­tana granted World Tour li­cence for 2016

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

PARIS: Cy­cling’s world body con­firmed yes­ter­day that the dop­ing-tainted As­tana team will re­tain its World Tour li­cence for the 2016 sea­son. The Kazakh-funded out­fit, fea­tur­ing 2014 Tour de France cham­pion Vin­cenzo Nibali, was one of 11 teams given the green light to com­pete in the top divi­sion next sea­son af­ter meet­ing the an­nual reg­is­tra­tion cri­te­ria man­dated by the In­ter­na­tional Cy­cling Union (UCI).

“Af­ter read­ing the con­clu­sions of (an in­de­pen­dent re­view panel), the Li­cence Com­mis­sion has found that the team com­plied with the mea­sures re­quired of it,” read a UCI state­ment.

As­tana’s place in the pelo­ton had been un­der threat since five rid­ers with either the pro­fes­sional World Tour squad or the team’s Con­ti­nen­tal Tour af­fil­i­ate failed dop­ing tests last year.

In Fe­bru­ary, the UCI had de­manded As­tana be stripped of its World Tour Li­cence which would have barred them from the main in­ter­na­tional races, in­clud­ing the Tour de France and Tours of Italy and Spain.

But an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion agreed to al­low them to keep rac­ing in a de­ci­sion de­liv­ered on April 23, sub­ject to strict mon­i­tor­ing over a four-month pe­riod from the In­sti­tute of Sports Sci­ence of the Univer­sity of Lau­sanne (ISSUL).

Fol­low­ing the end of the pro­ba­tion­ary pe­riod, ISSUL re­ported its fi­nal find­ings to the UCI in Septem­ber, ob­serv­ing that As­tana had made con­sid­er­able ef­forts to im­prove the team’s in­fras­truc­ture but also not­ing that there was still some way to go.

“The sit­u­a­tion of the As­tana team can be con­sid­ered as very sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved com­pared with that re­vealed by the au­dit re­port or­dered by the (Li­cence) Com­mis­sion in De­cem­ber 2014, in terms of the train­ing plans for rid­ers, the team staff, race man­age­ment and med­i­cal care,” the com­mis­sion said in ref­er­ence to the ISSUL re­port.

“It would seem pos­si­ble that if the As­tana team were to man­age to breathe life into the struc­tures with which it seems to have equipped it­self, it could be in com­pli­ance with the or­gan­i­sa­tion spec­i­fi­ca­tions for pro­fes­sional teams that will be a con­di­tion of their reg­is­tra­tion from 2017.”

Seven other teams will also go be­fore the Li­cence Com­mis­sion in the com­ing weeks as part of the stan­dard ap­pli­ca­tion process. —AFP

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