Despite the UCI's request to revoke Astana's WorldTour licence, Spaniard Luis León Sánchez says the team is still acting as if the situation were normal, planning to compete in Paris-Nice next week, a race that Sanchez won in 2009 and took second place the following year.
The UCI announced last week that it appealed to its Licencing Commission to revoke the team's licence because of the team's connection to the Padova doping investigation. The team was given a provisional licence for 2015 after the doping positives of Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy last year and was subject to an independent audit.
Although it is unclear whether the team will be allowed to continue to race while the case is still pending the Licence Commission and possible arbitration, Sanchez says the team has continued with business as usual. "I received by email the flights and hotels as well as the training plan, as in previous races," he said according to Biciciclismo. "They have told us that we should continue working, training and doing things right."
Sanchez, who won the Vuelta a España mountains classification while riding with the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA team last season had been looking to get back up to speed in the WorldTour. He was fifth in the Vuelta a Murcia and fifth overall in the Volta ao Algarve. He is planning his spring around racing the Giro d'Italia - a race that has been lacking in his palmares during his previous decade at the WorldTour level.
"Last year in Caja Rural I was fortunate to race several WorldTour events including the last Vuelta a España, but now I feel comfortable and at ease and pleased to have a calendar that includes the best races in the world."
The calendar includes his return to Paris-Nice, but with a parcours that may not be as suited to him as the one in 2009 and 2010. The final stage time trial up the Col d'Eze will be an added challenge.
"Paris-Nice is eight stages, something could happen any day," he said. "Early on with the wind, and if you see rain and cold - and the mountain finish is very different from the Malhao (in Algarve). The course seems good, but with the last time trial we'll have to see how it goes. If I lose time in the first mountain finish [stage 4's Croix de Chaubouret], I will forget the general classification and try to win a stage. We'll go day by day. The WorldTour points are very important for the teams and to be close to the podium would be a good thing."