Astana to keep WorldTour licence

The UCI Licence Commission will let Astana keep its place in the WorldTour, but the UCI will keep the team under observation, Cyclingnews understands. The news clears the way for 2014 Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali to prepare to defend his title without fear of his team being unable to compete.

Cyclingnews understands that confirmation from the UCI and a statement from the Astana team are forthcoming.

Astana was granted a provisional WorldTour licence in December because a pair of EPO positives in the WorldTour team and several doping cases in its Continental affiliate raised concerns about the team's structure and ethics.

The team agreed to be the subject of an independent audit by the Sport Sciences Institute of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL), and abide by other rules regarding the staffing and the schedule of its riders.

The results of the audit raised some red flags, and this together with the past doping cases and accusations of a continued relationship with banned trainer Michele Ferrari with some riders, led UCI President Brian Cookson to request the Licence Commission revoke the team's WorldTour licence.

The team met with the Licence Commission last week to defend its position.

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