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No payment yet for Astana

Could Armstrong be the knight in shining armour for Astana?

Could Armstrong be the knight in shining armour for Astana? (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Astana has failed to meet the deadline for payment of six million euros owing to the International Cycling Union (UCI) for the continuation of its ProTour licence.

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Mediator for the Kazakh federation, Rinus Wagtmans, told Belgian broadcaster Sporza, "The Kazakhs have told the UCI that they have tried to raise the funds, but that they were not successful.

"Wednesday Astana will try [to pay] again. However, I had advised them not to do so, because lawyers have rightly noted that the UCI cannot demand that extra guarantee."

Wagtmans explained that if the UCI does revoke Astana's ProTour licence, the sport's governing body should expect a claim from management of the Kazakh-backed squad, although that may not include Johan Bruyneel.

"If this [the licence was revoked] happened, manager Johan Bruyneel would throw in the towel," said Wagtmans. He speculated that, "It could be that Armstrong acts as a sponsor, which would replace Astana... Although I don't believe it."

Continuing the hypothetical scenario, Wagtmans explained, "Contador and the others would have an interim manager that can ride without Armstrong. This may be a possible scenario, even though the money is paid. That is my advice."

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