Astana escaped losing licence as punishment 'disproportionate'
Last Updated: 06/05/15 9:31am
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has revealed Astana avoided losing their WorldTour licence as such punishment would have been "disproportionate".
The future of the team, led by Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali, was in question last month when the sport's Licence Commission considered the results of an independent audit, ordered after a number of doping infractions within the Kazakhstan-based squad.
That audit was completed by Institute of Sport Sciences at the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) earlier this year, and the Licence Commission announced on April 23 that Astana's licence would not be withdrawn, with the UCI publishing details of their ruling on Tuesday.
In it, the Licence Commission said that the majority of the issues raised by ISSUL could be resolved by reforms within the team, finding evidence that such a process had already begun.
Five riders failed doping tests in 2014, two from Astana's WorldTour team - brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy - along with trainee Ilya Davidenok and continental development team members Artur Fedosseyev and Victor Okishev.
The Licence Commission's report stated: "In view of the modifications that have already taken place, those that are announced, the commitment to adhere to the conditions laid down by the ISSUL with the approval of and under the supervision of the Commission, and the absence of further incidents since autumn 2014, it is found that the sanction of a withdrawal, motivated mainly by facts of the past, would not, as of today, respect the principle of proportionality."
But Astana will remain under a monitoring process, and their licence could again come into question if any further issues are raised.
The report continued: "In the case of non-compliance with the terms of agreement, the ISSUL will notify the Commission, which can at any time reopen the procedure of licence withdrawal.
"The reopening of the procedure can also occur in the case of new cases of doping or other serious infringements of the rules."