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Although the combined WorldTour and Continental teams have had five positive tests since August and the team has been heavily implicated in the Padova report linking riders and squads to the banned doping doctor Michele Ferrari, the Astana squad has confirmed that it has been given a WorldTour licence for 2015.
It released a brief statement on its website celebrating the fact that it will once again be one of the top-ranked teams next season.
“Astana Pro Team is happy and proud to announce that we have received a 2015 World Tour License and will race at the highest level of the sport in the upcoming season,” it stated.
“Thanks to riders, staff, family, sponsors, friends and fans for your support.”
The UCI indicated to CycingTips on Wednesday that the Padova report may have come too late for the Licence Commission requested to assess the team to factor into its decision.
However at the time of writing, the UCI had still not communicated the reason behind the commission’s decision. It is therefore impossible to know if the Padova report could see that licence taken away at a later date.
WorldTour team riders Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy both tested positive for EPO in August, while three riders with the Continental squad – namely Kazakhstan’s national champion Ilya Davidenok, Artur Fedosseyev and Victor Okishev all tested positive for anabolic androgenic steroids.
Davidenok has been a stagiaire with the WorldTour team since August.
Earlier this week La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Ferrari attended an Astana training camp in November 2013. The team has not commented, while Ferrari has denied this.