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Astana Keep Their World Tour License (for now)

UCI rules in favor of no changes for 2015 season

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

You may have seen by now that Astana will not be stripped of its UCI World Tour license for 2015. Nothing official is up on the UCI website, but they announced last night that instead of stripping Astana of its license in mid-season, as they had sought, the UCI will accept a recommendation of the licensing commission that certain measures be imposed on the team so they can keep going.

The outcome is a win for short-term sanity, as having the team of defending Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (who was not accused of any wrongdoing in the process) hanging in the balance before Le Tour would be... well, cycling. But the team are not off the hook. The compromise measure includes a request that the Institute of Sports Sciences at the University of Lausanne devise a series of measures to be imposed on the team for the rest of the season, as conditions on their 2015 license. If Astana screw up, the process starts all over again -- and maybe not so much for 2015 but probably leads to a license denial in 2016.

Critics will say the team is skating by, but IMHO punishing Nibali and the (supposedly) innocent riders on the team isn't a terribly satisfying outcome either. Doping is a cancer on the sport, and while the UCI should cut it out where they can, it's important not to overdo it.