Cycling: World governing body requests withdrawal of racing licence for Astana

The UCI world cycling federation on Friday called for the withdrawal of the racing licence for the Astana team of Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali over doping accusations. -- PHOTO: AFP
The UCI world cycling federation on Friday called for the withdrawal of the racing licence for the Astana team of Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali over doping accusations. -- PHOTO: AFP

LAUSANNE (AFP) - The UCI world cycling federation on Friday called for the withdrawal of the racing licence for the Astana team of Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali over doping accusations.

The UCI said a study on the Kazakhstan-based team contains "compelling grounds" for a review by the body's independently-run Licence Commission and that it requests "the Astana Pro Team licence be withdrawn".

The World Tour Licence gives access to the main international races, including the Tour de France and big tours in Italy and Spain.

Astana announced they would contest any move to take away their licence.

The team have been under the spotlight since brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinksy and three other Astana riders tested positive for banned substances in the past year.

The UCI agreed to give Astana a World Tour Licence in December on condition that the team cooperated with a study by Lausanne University's Institute of Sport Sciences on last year's doping cases.

"After careful review of this extensive report, the UCI strongly believes that it contains compelling grounds to refer the matter to the Licence Commission and request the Astana Pro Team licence be withdrawn," said a UCI statement.