Sochi, Russia, April 20, 2015 (AFP) – An International Cycling Union (UCI)
commission is expected to rule this week on whether the doping tainted Astana
team should be stripped of its licence, UCI president Brian Cookson said
If Astana loses, star rider Vincenzo Nibali could forfeit the right to
defend his Tour de France title.
“I am expecting a decision this week, I am hoping so. I don’t have a final
date, but the sooner the better,” Cookson told Bicycle.net on the sidelines of the
SportAccord convention in Sochi, Russia.
The UCI president — elected to the post in September 2013 — said he did
not expect the licence commission would have another meeting on whether
Astana’s World Tour racing licence should be revoked.
Astana could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but legal
officials have said Astana would not automatically have the right to carry on
racing while the tribunal comes to a decision.
Astana’s place in the peloton has 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.
Cookson said that whatever the decision, the UCI has 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.”
Stronger monitoring rules and team sanctions introduced by the World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have now been added to UCI regulations for this year.
If multiple doping cases “happened this year that would be very, very
serious for Astana or any other team,” said Cookson.
“Teams 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,” said Cookson.
“Others who are allegedly floating around on the sidelines, the people who
have been banned, there are rumours that they are still acting as
intermediaries, it is a warning to them as well,” added the 63-year-old