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Report: Astana to lose WorldTour licence

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Alexander Vinokourov presents the 2015 Astana team in Dubai

Alexander Vinokourov presents the 2015 Astana team in Dubai
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The 2015 Astana team is presented in Dubai

The 2015 Astana team is presented in Dubai
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team are presented

Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team are presented
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team

Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The 2015 Astana team

The 2015 Astana team
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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 Alexander Vinokourov and Vincenzo Nibali celebrate the Astana win

Alexander Vinokourov and Vincenzo Nibali celebrate the Astana win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports that Astana, the team of 2014 Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali, will lose its WorldTour licence. Earlier this month the UCI requested the team's licence be revoked following several positive doping tests in 2014.

According to De Telegraaf, a senior official from the UCI informed the newspaper that the team can only apply for a Continental licence, the third tier of professional cycling after the decision was made on March 20 to revoke the licence.

The UCI Licence Commission is scheduled to meet on April 2 to decide on the future of Astana as a WorldTour team.

The WorldTour team was awarded a licence in December but UCI president Brian Cookson raised severe concerns over the subject, telling Cyclingnews that the team were 'drinking in the last chance saloon' after several doping cases in the space of matter of weeks, with Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy testing positive for EPO, and Ilya Davidenok showing traces of anabolic steroids in a drug test.

Last month, the UCI formally requested that its Licence Commission revoke the Kazakhstan team's WorldTour licence after an audit by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) of the team's anti-doping culture, policies, structures and management systems.

At the time of the request, Astana team has acknowledged that it has received the results of the ISSUL audit and is preparing its legal defence. The team suggested that it would fight any attempts to revoke its licence and warned it reserved the right to appeal any decision by the Licence commission to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Updated: The UCI and Astana deny any decision has been made on its WorldTour licence.