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.