By Antonio J. Salmerón
The managers of team Astana intend to conduct business as usual and travel to Málaga for the start of the Vuelta a Espana this weekend, despite recent inconclusive meetings between the team, the UCI and the International Professional Cyclists Association regarding the team's license.
If the UCI decides to withdraw Astana's license then its parent company, Active Bay, will present its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to secure its participation in the Vuelta. A compromise may be reached similar to that reached prior to the Tour. Team members of Astana were permitted to participate on the condition that they were not implicated in the 'Operacion Puerto' Spanish police drugs investigation. However, a decision by team managers not to replace Tour riders who were excluded because of their implication in Operacion Puerto meant Astana did not have enough riders to take part.
Astana continues to operate off the licence of Active Bay, the company part-owned by former Liberty Seguros-Würth team manager Manolo Saiz and Astana's predecessor. Saiz's role ceased to exist shortly after his name arose as one of the key figure in Operación Puerto, the investigation into an alleged organised doping network in Spain.