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Astana and UCI dismiss report that licence has been stripped

Nibali won the 2014 Tour de France with Astana. Credit: PA

The International Cycling Union and Astana Pro Team have dismissed a report that the team of 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali have been stripped of their WorldTour licence by the Independent Licence Commission.

Last month the UCI requested that Astana's licence be revoked by the commission following an independent audit into their procedures, which came after a number of anti-doping infringements by Astana and their feeder team.

On Monday, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported that Astana would lose their WorldTour licence and would only be allowed to apply for a Continental licence, the third tier of professional cycling, saying the decision had been made on March 20.

However, the UCI said the case had not yet been heard.

"Following a misleading article published today in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) would like to clarify that no hearing has yet taken place in the Astana case and therefore no decision has been made," a UCI statement said.

Tinkoff-Saxo suspend team manager Riis

Bjarne Riis has witness some poor results. Credit: PA

Tinkoff-Saxo has announced that team manager Bjarne Riis has been suspended, but denied the move was because of a lack of results.

Riis is one of the subjects of an investigation into past doping practices in his native Denmark, having belatedly admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during a career which included victory in the 1996 Tour de France.

Rumours surfaced on Sunday that Riis had been suspended due to poor results by Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov.


Cookson brands Armstrong 'disrespectful'

Cycling boss Brian Cookson says Lance Armstrongis being 'completely disrespectful' by riding Tour de France route for charity.

Cookson, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), suggested Armstrong 'would be well-advised not to take part' in former Crewe Alexandra and England footballer Geoff Thomas' charity fundraising plan.

Lance Armstrong was planning to ride the route. Credit: PA

"I'm sure that Geoff Thomas means well, but frankly I think that's completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Tour, disrespectful to the current riders, and disrespectful to the UCI and the anti-doping community," Cookson said at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club.

"I think Lance would be well-advised not to take part in that."

Brian Cookson was speaking at the The Sport Industry Breakfast Club. Credit: The Sport Industry Breakfast Club, powered by CWM FX

Sky rider Richie Porte wins Paris-Nice

Team Sky rider Richie Porte reeled in a 36-second gap to win the Paris-Nice title for the second time in three years.

The Australian was well placed but still significantly behind Tony Gallopin heading into the final day, but while Porte surged the overnight leader fell away on the Col d'Eze time-trial.

Porte said: "It means a lot to me to be a two-time winner of an iconic race like Paris-Nice, and this one feels even sweeter than the last one because it was so hard. They threw everything at us yesterday, and to win on the top of the Col d'Eze this year, like I did in 2013, is incredible."

Contador signs new deal at Tinkoff-Saxo

Twice Tour de France champion Alberto Contador. Credit: PA

Twice Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has signed a new one-year contract that will keep him at the Tinkoff-Saxo team until the end of next season.

"Tinkoff-Saxo is delighted to announce the Spanish six-times Grand Tour winner will remain as its leader until the end of the 2016 season," the Russian-owned team said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Alberto Contador is undoubtedly one of the world's best stage racers and a legend in his lifetime."

Last month the Spanish cyclist indicated that next season could be his last as a professional.


French cyclist fails EPO test

Frenchman Lloyd Mondory. Credit: PA

Frenchman Lloyd Mondory has failed an out-of-competition test for the banned blood-booster EPO, the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed on Tuesday.

"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that it has notified French rider Lloyd Mondory of an Adverse Analytical Finding of EPO in a sample collected in the scope of an out-of-competition control on 17 February 2015," the UCI said in a statement.

"In accordance with the UCI Anti-doping Rules, the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair."

The AG2r-La Mondiale rider has the right to request that his B sample be tested.

Ill Froome pulls out of Tirreno-Adriatico

Chris Froome won't be taking part in the Tirreno-Adriatico due to ill-health, the Team Sky rider has announced.

The British rider didn't elaborate on what his illness was nor when he might return to racing.

UCI wants Astana's licence revoked, putting Tour winner Nibali in limbo

Vincenzo Nibali won last year's Tour with Astana. Credit: PA

The UCI will ask its licence commission to revoke the licence of Astana following an independent audit after a number of anti-doping infringements.

The news, announced by cycling's world governing body, puts Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali in limbo.

A statement from the UCI read: "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today confirms that it has now reviewed the audit produced by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) (1) on Astana Pro Team and its anti-doping culture, policies, structures and management systems.

"The audit was one of the conditions attached to the registration of the team in the 2015 UCI WorldTour.

"After careful review of this extensive report, the UCI strongly believes that it contains compelling grounds to refer the matter to the Licence Commission (2) and request the Astana Pro Team licence be withdrawn."

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