Astana retain elite status for 2015, but on probation

Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:13pm EST
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali's Astana team retained their elite status for 2015 following a review by the License Commission after being hit by a series of doping affairs, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Wednesday.

Astana, however, are "on probation", according to UCI president Brian Cookson, as their license is under two conditions.

The first is that Astana is "audited by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne, an independent body recognized for its expertise in this field," the UCI said.

"The ISSUL will look into the circumstances of the doping cases at stake to determine whether and to what extent the team and or/its management is responsible of the recent events."

The team is managed by Alexandre Vinokourov, who was banned for two years in 2007 after failing two dope tests during the Tour de France that year.

The second condition is that Astana adhere to what the UCI called "the professional teams’ internal operational requirements".

The World Tour license guarantees its holder direct participation in the top races, including the Tour de France, the Paris-Roubaix classic and the Giro d'Italia.

Several Astana riders failed dope tests this season.   Continued...