Astana cash not yet forthcoming - team manager
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Friday, June 05, 2009

Astana cash not yet forthcoming - team manager

by Agence France-Presse at 1:10 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

Astana, the team of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and Spanish star Alberto Contador, have yet to pay a bank guarantee on which their racing future depends, manager Johan Bruyneel said Friday.

"The problem has not yet been sorted," Bruyneel told AFP regarding pending payments due from the Kazakh cycling federation.  In midweek, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said the team had provided financial guarantees which would allowing Astana to retain their
licence.

But Bruyneel explained there were still loose ends to tie up.

"The bank guarantee which was incomplete has been reconstituted, that is true - but no transfer has been made into the (team) accounts since the Giro ended," Bruyneel said.

He added the team would wear the same shirts as in the Tour of Italy, which ended last week, for Sunday's Criterium Dauphine Libere at Nancy, France, with the mention of the main sponsor, Astana, all but blocked out.

Suggesting that a solution would soon be "in sight" given Wednesday's UCI statement, Bruyneel said that the Astana cash was due in four instalments.

"At the start of the Giro only a part of the first instalment was paid. During the Giro, two payments followed but that corresponding to April 1 was incomplete," he explained.

The UCI had threatened to rescind the team's Pro-Tour competition licence after the team's wages were reportedly not paid for two months.

Astana had been told to provide the bank guarantees by May 31.

"The UCI has verified that Astana has fulfilled the conditions," the organisation said Wednesday, while adding it would keep a close eye on further developments.

Armstrong will from July 4 attempt to win an eighth Tour de France, which Contador won in 2007 with the Discovery Channel team before switching to Astana, who were banned from last year's edition for doping offences before the team underwent substantial structural and personnel changes.

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