As­tana cy­cling team keeps top sta­tus af­ter dop­ing cases

The China Post - - SPORTS -

The As­tana team of 2014 Tour de France win­ner Vin­cenzo Nibali has sur­vived a re­view of its top-tier rac­ing sta­tus or­dered af­ter sev­eral dop­ing cases.

The In­ter­na­tional Cy­cling Union said on Thurs­day that its in­de­pen­dent li­cens­ing panel let the Kaza­khstan gov­ern­ment-backed squad keep World Tour sta­tus, which en­sures en­tries to all top races.

The UCI asked its panel in Fe­bru­ary to strip the li­cense af­ter a crit­i­cal au­dit of As­tana’s anti-dop­ing work con­ducted by the In­sti­tute of Sport Sciences of the Uni­ver­sity of Lau­sanne.

In­stead, As­tana will be “sub­ject to strict mon­i­tor­ing” through the sea­son by the uni­ver­sity, in­clud­ing at Nibali’s planned de­fense of cy­cling’s big­gest prize in July.

“The li­cense com­mis­sion shall be able to re-open the pro­ceed­ings if As­tana Pro Team fails to re­spect one or sev­eral of the con­di­tions im­posed, or if new el­e­ments arise,” the UCI said in a state­ment. Rea­sons for the panel’s de­ci­sion “will be pub­lished in due course,” the UCI said.

As­tana man­age­ment did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to the rul­ing.

The team was put un­der scru­tiny af­ter two se­nior rid­ers — Kazakh broth­ers Maxim and Valentin Iglin­skiy — were caught us­ing EPO last sea­son, and three devel­op­ment team mem­bers tested pos­i­tive for steroids.

Rid­ers also al­legedly con­tacted Ital- ian doc­tor Michele Fer­rari, who was banned from the sport in the Lance Arm­strong case. Nibali was not im­pli­cated. The As­tana case has been seen as a ma­jor test in the post-Lance Arm­strong era of the new UCI lead­er­ship’s tough­ness on dop­ing.

“They won’t get a sec­ond chance,” UCI pres­i­dent Brian Cook­son said of As­tana’s is­sues last year. “They have had too many sec­ond chances in the past, per­haps.”

As­tana manager Alexan­dre Vi­nok­ourov is a for­mer Fer­rari client, who served a two-year dop­ing ban be­fore win­ning the 2012 Lon­don Olympics road race.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.