The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced Astana Pro Team will retain its World Tour licence but also warned proceedings will be reopened if new issues arise.
World cycling’s governing body’s Licence Commission suspended the proceedings against the Kazakh-based squad of last year’s Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali following a hearing in Geneva today.
The UCI had asked the Commission to revoke Astana’s top-tier racing status in February after an independent Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) audit of the team’s anti-doping culture, policies, structures and management systems.
The UCI claimed the audit revealed “a big difference between the policies and structures that the team presented to the Licence Commission in December and the reality on the ground”.
Several Astana riders were also involved in doping scandals last year, including Kazakh brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinsky, who both tested positive for erythropoietin, and young rider Ilya Davidenok, who returned an adverse analytical finding for anabolic androgenic steroids.
The team has now committed to putting in place a series of special measures, proposed by the ISSUL, at specific times over the rest of the season and the licence will be subject to “strict monitoring”.
The UCI also insisted the Licence Commission will be able to reopen the proceedings against Astana if it fails to meet one or several of the conditions imposed, or if new issues come to light.
“Astana Pro Team is grateful to the License Commission for the opportunity to present the team’s commitment to observing the UCI’s ethical criteria,” the squad said in a statement.
“Astana Pro Team is committed to respecting all measures recommended by ISSUL, and to collaborate in the implementation of further measures that enhance our procedures above and beyond the UCI's minimum requirements.
“Our focus now returns to racing.”
The UCI added that a “full reasoned decision will be published in due course”.
April 2015: Decision on fate of Astana's World Tour Licence delayed until April 24, it is claimed
March 2015: Exclusive: UCI President denies accusation from Italian Cycling he acted unconstitutionally over Astana licence
February 2015: Tour de France winner's future thrown into doubt as UCI request withdrawal of Astana's racing licence
November 2014: Feeder squad of Tour de France winner's team provisionally suspended after third doping case
October 2014: UCI to investigate team of Tour de France winner after third rider tests positive for banned substance