Astana have denied reports in the Dutch media that they have been stripped of their WorldTour licence by the Independent Licence Commission. De Telegraaf reported that the Kazakh team would now only be allowed to apply for a Pro Continental licence but the team told Cyclingnews that they have not been informed of such a decision.
Late last month, the UCI requested that Astana's licence be revoked following an audit of the team. Astana told Cyclingnews that the March 20 date quoted by the report was the deadline they had been given to form a legal response and supply all documentation to the Commission and, to their knowledge, no decision was due on that date. As far as the team are aware the Licence Commission, which consists of a panel of three judges, is due to begin their decision making process on April 2 as previously reported. The team itself has been invited to appear before the three judges on Thursday to answer questions and have put together a team to fly out to Switzerland later this week, which will include management and legal representatives and may also consist of some select riders.
The team has said that they would be disappointed to hear that they UCI have not followed the due process but if the report proves to be true, and a decision has been made, that they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) immediately.
“We’ve met all the obligations, we received the licence in December with the condition that we undergo an audit and that we serve as a demonstration team for the audit that all teams will go through at the beginning of 2017,” the team said. “And that we would implement the recommendations made by the audit, in order to serve as a model team. There was never any mention in the December licence issuance that the audit would determine whether or not we would keep the licence.”
According to Astana, a final decision may not come this Thursday and could be given as many as 10 days after the meeting, which would be the weekend of Paris-Roubaix. Cyclingnews has contacted the UCI who confirmed that no decision had been made.
“Following a misleading article published today in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) would like to clarify that no hearing has yet taken place in the Astana case and therefore no decision has been made. The UCI won’t make any further comment until the Licence Commission has rendered its decision,” the UCI said.