The UCI License Commission is not scheduled to meet until April 2nd, until then no formal announcement or decision has been made. However, the Dutch publication De Telegraaf claims that the decision is already finalized, and the squad will be losing their WorldTour license.
De Telegraaf credits an anonymous senior person within the UCI as the source of the information about the decision. The source also claims that the Astana team will only be allowed to apply for a Continental license, thus ruling out all of the top races.
If De Telegraaf’s story is confirmed, it would mean that Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 Tour de France champion, would not be able to defend his title this July. The news would be a major blow to the team.
Team Astana came under investigation las fall when brothers and Astana team members Mxim and Valentin Iglinskiy both tested positive for EPO. The situation got worse when one of the team's stagiairies (amateur on a pro team), Kazakhstan’s national champion Ilya Davidenok, was found to have traces of anabolic androgenic steroids in his system. The UCI then asked its License Commission to undertake a review of the WorldTour team's license.
Since then two more riders from the continental squad, Artur Fedosseyev and Victor Okishev, also tested positive for anabolic androgenic steroids.
The Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) was tasked by the UCI to audit the team to determine “to what extent the team and or/its management is responsible of the recent events.”
“After careful review of this extensive report, the UCI strongly believes that it contains compelling grounds to refer the matter to the Licence Commission and request the Astana Pro Team licence be withdrawn,” it stated then.
What are your opinions on this news? Should doppers, and subsequently teams that allow their teams to dope, be punished in such a way? In my opinion this is a great way to dissuade doping on pro teams. If teams can lose their license so easily, they may be more willing to make sure their athletes stay clean.