Posted by Editor on 12/11/14
Yesterday, the UCI Licence Commission announced that it would issue a 2015 WorldTour licence to the Kazakhstan-based Astana team, while denying one to French-based Team Europcar.
The Astana decision has ignited considerable controversy, given a number of doping positives for the team in the past season. The Licence Commission stated that Astana will be subjected to intensive monitoring and will have to implement tougher measures in 2015 that are scheduled for 2017.
The Commission also warned that any further positives could result in the Astana WorldTour licence being pulled. With respect to the Italian investigation (Padova) that has linked Astana with disgraced Italian doctor Ferrari, the UCI says that there is not enough evidence at this time to include it in the decision-making process.
The Europcar decision was based on the team not meeting the financial criteria required for the highest WorldTour division. The team will now be considered for the lower Professional Continental level. It is a blow to a team that is entering the final year of sponsorship with its title sponsor, and searching for a new sponsor.
The full text of the UCI statement:
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today [December 10, 2014] announced that the Licence Commission has released its decisions with regards to the teams Astana Pro Team, Team Europcar and Yellow Fluo.
Concerning Astana Pro Team, last October, the UCI asked the Licence Commission to undertake a full review of the management and anti-doping policies of the Astana Pro Team. This request followed positive tests on two of its riders, Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy (EPO), and on Ilya Davidenok (anabolic steroids), a trainee with the UCI ProTeam Astana since August 1st this year.
In accordance with the UCI Regulations, the team appeared before the Licence Commission in Geneva on November 6th. After an in-depth examination of the situation, the Licence Commission reached the following findings:
• "The organisation of the fight against doping and the support personnel of the riders in place until now by the team has defaulted";
• "[The team] has initiated a reorganisation of all the support personnel of its riders in order to strengthen its fight against doping within the team to ensure greater prevention and repression";
• "In view of the heavy and repeated doping cases, which occurred within the Team, it is therefore essential to monitor the implementation of such measures on the ground".
In light of the above, the Licence Commission has subordinated the 2015 registration team to the two following conditions:
• That the Astana Pro Team is audited by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL), an independent body recognised for its expertise in this field. The ISSUL will look into the circumstances of the doping cases at stake to determine whether and to what extent the team and or/its management is responsible of the recent events. Furthermore, it will assess the team's internal structures, culture and management systems to understand whether these are adequate to ensure that the highest ethical standards are upheld. It will release its report early February 2015. The audit will be paid for by the Team.
• That the Astana Pro Team adheres from 2015 to the internal operational requirements, which will be compulsory for all UCI World Teams from 2017 as part of the reform of men's professional road cycling. Astana Pro Team will join a group of eight teams that have volunteered to implement.
The Licence Commission however warned that: "In the event that the audit would lead to reveal deficiencies or in case of faulty implementation of the internal operational requirements or if another doping case would occur within the Team during the 2015 season, the UCI would refer the matter to the Licence Commission for a determination on an eventual withdrawal of the licence."
The Licence Commission also noted with respect to the recent allegations regarding the Padova investigation that as UCI is still waiting for the file: "For the time being, the elements of this procedure are unknown to the UCI and the Licence Commission and no consequence can be drawn in this case at hand. The UCI would call upon the Commission if evidence against the Team is established."
Therefore, the occurrence of any the aforementioned grounds, amongst others, would prompt a referral to the Licence Commission to envisage, if necessary, the withdrawal of the licence.
Concerning Europcar, the Licence Commission has decided to reject the team's request for registration for the 2015 season. The Licence Commission estimates that the team does not fulfill the financial criteria. The UCI will be able to evaluate the possibility of registering the team as a UCI Professional Continental Team. In accordance with the UCI Regulations, the registration refusal leads to the withdrawal of the UCI WorldTour Licence.
With regards to Yellow Fluo, the Licence Commission has decided to register the team as a UCI Professional Continental Team for the 2015 season upon the condition that team undergoes stringent controls by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation and the UCI to verify the team's implementation of its announced anti-doping measures.
Concerning Cult Energy, the Licence Commission has granted the team until December 15th to submit a new registration file.
Welcoming the decisions, UCI President Brian Cookson said "I would like to thank the Licence Commission, who has carried out its work thoroughly, professionally and independently of the UCI.
"In the case of the Astana Pro Team, this remains a very serious situation for our sport given the number of doping cases. We shall be following the situation very closely and are awaiting to review the results of the audit. Meanwhile, the team will have to comply with the two requirements imposed by the Licence Commission. The combined effect of this is that the Astana Pro Team can be considered very much to be on probation."
"Regarding Team Europcar, it is of course regrettable that the team has not been able to secure sufficient financial guarantees to remain in the UCI WorldTour, but I very much hope that they can continue as a Professional Continental Team."
"In the case of Yellow Fluo, it is vital that they comply with the conditions outlined. Concerning Cult Energy, I hope that they are able to make the deadline for the provision of a new file, as requested by the Commission."
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