Paris - Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali is free to defend his title
in July after his Astana team was allowed to keep its racing licence
despite a series of doping shocks, the UCI governing body have announced
At the end of February, the UCI had demanded the
team be stripped of its World Tour Licence which would have barred them
from the main international races, including the Tour de France and
Tours of Italy and Spain.
But an independent commission agreed to
allow Astana to keep racing following a meeting between representatives
of the two sides on Thursday.
"The Licence Commission held a
hearing in the presence of representatives of Astana Pro Team,
representatives of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and
representatives of the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of
Lausanne (ISSUL)," said a UCI statement published on Thursday.
the initiative of the Licence Commission, ISSUL were asked to propose
special measures which the Team will be obliged to put in place at
specific times over the rest of this season.
"The team committed to respecting all the measures recommended by ISSUL."
Astana are not totally out of the water yet, though, as they will be under scrutiny throughout the season.
team's licence is subject to strict monitoring of the conditions laid
down. This monitoring will be carried out on the basis of reports
transmitted by ISSUL to the Licence Commission," continued the UCI
"The Licence 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."
Astana's place in
the peloton had been under threat since five riders with either the
professional World Tour squad or the Kazakh team's Continental Tour
affiliate failed doping tests last year.
Kazakh brothers Maxim and
Valentin Iglinsky both tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO
while three members of the Continental Tour squad, also all Kazakhs,
tested positive for steroids.
Earlier this week, UCI president
Brian Cookson told AFP that whatever the outcome of the Licence
Commission's findings, Astana would be riding a tightrope.
the UCI had sent "a really strong, powerful signal, not just to Astana,
but to other teams as well, that this has to stop, we cannot have
multiple doping cases from one team in a year".
He said that if multiple doping cases "happened this year that would be very, very serious for Astana or any other team".
have to take their responsibilities very, very seriously in terms of
how they monitor riders, how they support riders and coach riders,"
"Doctors as well have to be very, very careful about the processes that they have been involved in."
the doping cases, the UCI originally agreed to grant Astana a licence
back in December but subsequently Italian media reports claimed the
Kazakh outfit had met with banned doping doctor Michele Ferrari.
UCI had stipulated in December that Astana had to cooperate with ISSUL
but following an initial report by the institute, the world governing
body asked its Licence Commission to strip the Kazakhs of their right to
For now, that threat has been lifted and Nibali, and Astana, can concentrate on the defence of the Tour de France yellow jersey.