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UCI asks Licence Commission to carry out "full review" of Astana

Probe will look into team's management and anti-doping policies after two EPO positives and news of another failed test today...

The UCI says that it has asked its Licence Commission to carry out "a full review of the management and anti-doping policies of the Astana Pro Team" after two riders, the brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy, tested positive for EPO in August and a third rider linked to the team, stagiaire IIya Davidenok, tested positive for anabolic steroids.

The Kazakh team, whose star rider is Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali and is managed by Olympic road champion Alexandre Vinokourov, banned after testing positive for an illegal blood transfusion in 2007, last week withdrew from the final UCI WorldTour race of the season, the Tour of Beijing.

The voluntary suspension from racing was in compliance with the rules of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), of which it is a member.

After Maxim Iglinskiy chose not to request examination of his B sample last week, UCI president Brian Cookson said Astana was likely to be referred to the Licence Commission, which evaluates teams on sporting, administrative, financial and - pertinent to this case - ethical criteria before granting or renewing a licence.

He said: "I’m hopeful that these are two cases, which is two cases too many, but I’m hoping that they are isolated incidents and not symptomatic of a greater problem in the team. I hope so."

Cookson's hopes have been dashed, however, with confirmation from the UCI today of Davidenok's positive test for anabolic steroids at August's Tour de l'Avenir, which he rode with Astana's development team, which races at UCI Continental level. He won Stage 4 of the race at the Plateau de Solaison.

Since 1 August, the 22-year-old has also been a stagiaire with Astana's ProTeam, and earlier this month rode in the Tour of Almaty. At the world championships at Ponferrada, Spain last month, the Kazakh finished eighth in the under-23 road race.

In a press release issued this afternoon, the governing body said:

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) will ask the Licence Commission to undertake a full review of the management and anti-doping policies of the Astana Pro Team.

This follows the serious concerns raised by the fact that two Astana riders Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy recently tested positive for EPO and the notification this week that llya Davidenok has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for anabolic androgenic steroids in a sample collected at the Tour de l’Avenir on 28th August 2014. IIya Davidenok has ridden from 1st January 2012 to date for Continental Team Astana and since 1st August 2014 has also been a stagiaire with Astana Pro Team. The rider has the right to request analysis of the B sample and in accordance with UCI Anti-doping Rules has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the matter. At this stage of the procedure, the UCI will not comment any further on this individual case.

The Licence Commission is the competent body for issuing, reviewing, withdrawing and attaching conditions to UCI WorldTour licences and ensuring that licence-holders continuously comply with the terms of the licence. As per the UCI Regulations, it is expected that the team will appear before the Licence Commission within the next month for an assessment of the team’s level of compliance with the ethical criteria so that the appropriate measures can be then taken. It will be for the Licence Commission to determine whether and to what extent the team and/or its management is responsible for recent events. The UCI will not comment further at this stage.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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bawheid | 9 years ago

There is something not right here. With a team practised in institutionalised doping really allow one of their riders to get caught for steroids? There's been an effective test for years. Either their management is incredibly thick, or they feel they can buy off the UCI if they get too threatened. Either way, get rid of them.

daddyELVIS replied to bawheid | 9 years ago
bawheid wrote:

There is something not right here....

For some reason it seems the UCI are targeting Astana. Maybe they don't like that the Tour winner is amongst their ranks, or maybe other teams have squealed that they are doping more than everybody else and that's unfair! The fact is they're all at it - this is top level pro sport - wake up! BTW, I've not seen the university PhD paper yet that was supposed to explain about the effects altitude training on altitude natives, perhaps Prof Brailsford hasn't marked it yet!

leqin | 9 years ago

said it before and will say it again - how can we trust a team that allows a unproven stupid idea such a acupuncture and allows the practitioners of it to enter the rooms of riders after proper medical staff have gone home for the evening and also allows them to use needles against UCI guidelines - when was the last time that we had people entering hotels late in the evening unseen and unaccountable for and doing things that required needles.... Lance Armstrong and the postal team - so how can anybody say hand on heart that Astana are not doping when they have 3 riders who test positive and the manager is a already guilty party.

Astana lost my support months ago and will never get it back.

DrJDog replied to leqin | 9 years ago
leqin wrote:

said it before and will say it again - how can we trust a team that allows a unproven stupid idea such a acupuncture and allows the practitioners of it to enter the rooms of riders after proper medical staff have gone home for the evening and also allows them to use needles against UCI guidelines

I had great results having an extremely stubborn achilles issue treated with acupuncture (with electrodes). Acupuncture needles are very fine compared to hypodermic needles.

If a rider wants to get an injection of something he shouldn't it's not like he'll have a hard time getting it - they can't be supervised 24/7.

Back to the subject, the Astana management should be banned (again), not just these riders.

Flying Scot | 9 years ago

The thing is,these guys were never getting away with this, something isn't right, it's too blatant.

No one should fail in competition, even cheats.

marche | 9 years ago

So - what a surprise for us all. There would be the possibility that Nibali has enjoyed the benefits of illegal drugs?  37

Ripper | 9 years ago

Doping is widespread in cycling. The UCI is the problem - they're corrupt and allow it to happen because all of their so called officials are only bothered about bettering their own lot.

Airzound | 9 years ago

Not before time. How can a doping drugs cheat manage a Pro cycling team any sports team at any level? Alexandre Vinokourov should have got a life time ban from cycling that he can't even mend a puncture and yet the UCI have allowed him to continue. Lots of skeletons still in cycling. How about Bjarne Riis, why is he allowed to continue in cycling?

Some Fella | 9 years ago

Perhaps the UCI should start taking away any overall victories of riders who were in the same team as dopers.
Even if you dont dope yourself, if you are being helped to victory by dopers then you are gaining an unfair advantage and it may perhaps encourage riders to not turn the other way and also make them consider what sort of team they are signing for.
Astana are rotten to the core and Nibali is an unworthy winner whilst he rides for them.

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