Paris - The UCI world cycling federation have called for the withdrawal
of the racing licence for the Astana team of Tour de France winner
Vincenzo Nibali on Friday over doping accusations.
The UCI said a study on
the Kazakhstan-based team contains "compelling grounds" for a review by
the body's independently-run Licence Commission and that it requests
"the Astana Pro Team licence be withdrawn."
The World Tour Licence
gives access to the main international races, including the Tour de
France and big tours in Italy and Spain.
Astana said it was
"compelled to respect" the UCI move while it awaited a final decision.
Media reports said it was consulting lawyers.
The team has been
under the spotlight since brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinksy and three
other Astana riders tested positive for banned substances in the past
It has also been on the defensive over Italian media claims
claims that banned doping doctor Michele Ferrari had met with the team.
UCI agreed to give Astana a World Tour Licence in December on condition
that the team cooperated with a study by Lausanne University's
Institute of Sport Sciences (ISSUL) on last year's doping cases.
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Commission and request the Astana Pro Team licence be withdrawn," said a
"The UCI considers that the ISSUL audit has, among
other things, 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."
The federation said it had also
been given details of an Italian investigation into doping and tax
evasion by cycling teams. Media reports said the Italian magistrates had
details of a visit to an Astana camp by banned doctor Ferrari.
was banned from cycling for life over his role in the doping scandal
surrounding disgraced US cycling champion Lance Armstrong.
some evidence concerns Astana Pro Team members, the file has been passed
to the Licence Commission as part of this referral," the UCI statement
Astana's general manager is Alexander Vinokurov who twice
tested positive for blood doping on the 2007 Tour de France and had
worked with Ferrari in the past. He has strongly denied any systematic
doping by the Astana team.
An Astana Pro Team spokesman told AFP
of the UCI move: "We are compelled to respect the decision pending due
process from the Independent License Commission."
The team was expected to release a full statement later Friday.
Iglinsky brothers of Kazakhstan are members of Astana's World Tour
team. They tested tested positive for EPO in September. A team trainee
and two members of the third ranked Continental team also failed blood