Although Alexandre Vinokourov's baby blue Astana boys raced in yesterday's Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, and were very active to boot, their immediate future is still uncertain. Astana is not guaranteed a start in Tuesday's Tour of Germany, as the team's ProTour licence is held by Active Bay, which is still part owned by Manolo Saiz. The latter is under investigation in the Operacion Puerto affair, but has not yet sold his part of Active Bay to Astana, even though Walter Godefroot is set to take over as manager in Saiz' absence.
Last week, the UCI voted to allow Astana to continue to race under its old ProTour licence, but only under the condition that none of the riders or staff implicated in Operacion Puerto were involved. Some of the riders (Allan Davis, Joseba Beloki, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Alberto Contador) have been cleared by the courts of any involvement in the affair, but Saiz remains under investigation, even though he claims he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto