According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Astana will lose its WorldTour license. The decision is to be formally announced on April 2 by the UCI’s license commission. The decision to revoke the license occurred last March.
The newspaper, however, has been accused of providing a misleading report. Last Monday, the UCI issued a formal statement claiming that no final decision regarding the team’s license has been reached.
De Telegraaf alleged that a UCI top-ranking officer claimed that Astana will be able to apply for a Continental license and nothing more. A Continental license is the third tier of professional cycling. This type of license is provided by national federations but it could greatly decrease the likelihood that the cycling team will be invited to the top races this year. It is possible that Vincenzo Nibali’s goal to win the Tour de France again this year will be futile.
UCI stated, “Following a misleading article published today in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) would like to clarify that no hearing has yet taken place in the Astana case and therefore no decision has been made. The UCI won’t make any further comment until the License Commission has rendered its decision.”
Last February, the governing body of professional cycling suggested that Astana’s license should be revoked because it was found that the Kazakh team’s policies and structures were not in line with what was presented to the license commission late last year. An audit revealed the discrepancies. The team has admitted to receiving the results of the ISSUL audit and is putting together a legal defense.
Astana could appeal an unfortunate decision with the Court of Arbitration, similar to Katusha. Katusha’s WorldTour license was revoked in 2012. Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni expressed optimism by saying he believes the whole situation will be settled before May, when the 2015 Grand Tour takes place.
Astana has voiced out that it will challenge any attempts to remove its license.