The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) issued a brief statement Thursday, declaring that it will ask its License 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,” the statement reads. “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.”
Earlier this month, the UCI warned Astana, the team of Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali, that it would likely face scrutiny for the doping positives of the Iglinskiy brothers.
This third positive test in 2014, from Davidenok, has, apparently, forced the federation’s hand.
The UCI’s License Commission is a committee composed of four members who are independent of the UCI: President of the Commission since 2004, Pierre Zappelli is a former Swiss Supreme Federal Court judge; Hans Höhener, is a former president of the Swiss Athletics Federation and a senior corporate executive; PhD André Hürter, is president of the board of directors for Schnyder SA Biel; and Paolo Franz, who is a senior manager at IBM.
“The License Commission is the competent body for issuing, reviewing, withdrawing and attaching conditions to UCI WorldTour licenses and ensuring that license-holders continuously comply with the terms of the license,” the statement reads.
“As per the UCI Regulations, it is expected that the team will appear before the License 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,” the UCI press statement said. “It will be for the License 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.”
In an interview with Vesti.kz, posted October 14, prior to news of Davidenok’s positive test, Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov was asked about the possibility that the team could lose its WorldTour license.
“The threat that Astana will be left without a WorldTour license, it is always there,” he said. “And it is the same for the other teams. Despite the fact that we have a license for three years, at the end of the season every year we need to ensure their financial obligations. And this case, I will not hide, we added hassle. Now we wrote a letter to the UCI and forward an invitation for an official meeting with the President. Team lawyers and doctors will go with me, where we provide all the necessary documents.”
In 2008, Spaniard Alberto Contador was unable to defend his Tour de France title in Astana colors after Tour owners ASO banned the team due to Vinokourov’s doping positive at the 2007 edition. Whether or not Nibali might face a similar scenario, due to either the UCI or ASO, remains to be seen.
Earlier this week, Nibali commented on Astana’s doping woes in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s been taken very badly. You know how I think about doping. Anyone who tries to be clever like that is an imbecile,” Nibali said. “Will there be consequences for Astana’s WorldTour licence? I don’t know.”