Crucial Astana management decision soon
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Crucial Astana management decision soon

by Conal Andrews at 10:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

With a ProTour licence hanging in the balance, the Astana cycling team is expected to communicate its new management structure proposal to the UCI in the next few days.

The team has been threatened with the withdrawal of its ProTour licence if all the necessary conditions are not met. Earlier this year there were serious delays in the payment of salaries and while the financial status is thought to have been guaranteed, concerns about other issues including the ethical requirements still remain.

Rumours that Alexandre Vinokourov would manage the team from 2010 onwards recently led the UCI to warn Astana that if the Kazkah took over such a role, the licence would immediately be taken away. Vinokourov recently returned from a two year ban for blood doping.

Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has said that he wants to leave the team, but unless the licence is withdrawn, his current contract would appear to lock him into racing 2010 with the squad.

Astana realises that he is its biggest guarantee of being able to do the Tour next season, and so it is doing what it can to keep both him and the ProTour licence.

Kazakh cycling federation vice-chairman Nikolay Proskurin pledges that all will be in order. "We are ready to secure the future of our team, and ensure that an international-level structure is put in place around Alberto Contador, who in 2010 will be our leader.''

Contador has been in preliminary talks with a number of other squads, including Garmin Slipstream, Caisse d’Epargne and Quick Step.

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