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The UCI has clarified a story in today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, staying that its Licence Commission has not yet received the Padova report into doping allegations against Michele Ferrari, including claims that he worked with the Astana team.
Although La Gazzetta quoted UCI President Brian Cookson as saying that documentation had been sent by the Italian Olympic Committee CONI, it appears that this may have been a mistranslation. A spokesperson for the governing body contacted CyclingTips to say that its Licence Commission is yet to acquire the requested information from CONI.
The Licence Commission is currently studying the Astana team’s candidature for a WorldTour place in 2015. The team is under pressure following five positive tests spread across two squads; since August, the WorldTour team’s Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy tested positive for EPO, while Kazakhstan’s national champion Ilya Davidenok, Artur Fedosseyev and Victor Okishev of the Astana Continental team all tested positive for anabolic androgenic steroids.
In recent days, Italian media reports have stated that a number of Astana riders have been linked to the banned doping doctor Michele Ferrari. They have also claimed that he attended a team training camp in Italy in November of last year.
According to the UCI spokesman, the Licence Commission will communicate its final decision to the UCI tomorrow. This will indicate whether or not it believes that the team should be given a WorldTour licence for 2015.
It is not clear if the documentation will be received in time for it to be considered. However if the Licence Commission is already leaning towards excluding the team, that documentation may not be necessary.
Once received, that decision will then be publicly released by the UCI. Both Astana and the French team Europcar – which has reportedly a shortfall of budget – will learn then if they will be part of the 2015 WorldTour or not.
The team includes Vincenzo Nibali, who won the 2014 Tour de France. If Astana loses its WorldTour licence, the Italian would need it to be given a wildcard invitation to the race in order for him to defend his title.