The Astana WorldTour team are now in talks with their lawyers after the UCI issued a statement today recommending that their licence be revoked.
The UCI’s recommendation still needs to be applied by the Licence Commission - who awarded Astana their licence in December - but if they agree with the report then it could see the team excluded from the WorldTour in the next two weeks.
“We are fully mindful of this and were informed of the decision late yesterday. We have been consulting with our lawyers and we will issue a full statement later this afternoon,” the team said when contacted by Cyclingnews. The team added that they will work with the relevant authorities in the coming days.
The UCI’s advice comes off the back of an audit conducted by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL). New regulations brought in by WADA, which state any team with two doping violations in 12 months can be suspended, were only brought into effect in January and unlikely to work against the team unless a further case arises.
An article in L’Équipe references a points of regulation in the UCI code – 2.15.040 – which states reasons for which a team’s licence can be revoked. Among the seven reasons listed it says that a licence can be removed if the information supplied to the Commission has sufficiently changed that they no longer fulfil the requirements. The audit had access to files from the Padova investigation, which came to light too late to be considered by the Licence Commission at the end of last year.
It also states: “in the event of acts committed by or imputable to the UCI WorldTeam or one or more of its members as a result of which the continuation of the licence would seriously harm the interests or reputation of the UCI WorldTour.”
The dispute could still rumble on for some time if the team chose to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to appeal any withdrawing of their licence.