UCI to Suspend Astana’s Pro Tour License ???

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Finally is all I can say.  Finally the UCI is doing something, not even close to enough, but something to stop this blatant use of doping in the sport of cycling.  It is hard to fathom how a team such as Astana, could be still racing on the Pro Tour level after all the shit they’ve participated in.

And I’m just using the information of what they have been “caught” for.  5 doping violations, between the Pro Tour Team and Astana’s farm team,  in less than a year would seem like enough, in itself, to have this already in place.  But, I think, money speaks louder than words and Astana is a big amount of that, money.  Money coming out of a place that you wouldn’t normally think money in the sport of cycling would come from.  And that speaks a lot in nearly all aspects of sport, and in life.

I’m not a fan of Astana since it’s figure head is Alexander Nikolaevich Vinokourov.  Let’s just skip all those extra letters and just refer to him as Vino.  I’ve made my thoughts pretty clear on Vino here.   It is nearly unfathomable, to me, that he is our reigning Olympic Road Race Champion.  How can a guy that has so, so many ghosts in his closets, plus the all the laundry that he’s left all over the sport, still be involved in the sport at all?  It is more than mildly embarrassing.  I believe that he and Alexandr Kolobnev have been formally charged with bribery and are currently awaiting trial for that.  It is about fixing the Leige-Bastogne-Leige race in 2010.  Seems that 150,000 euros exchanged hands and the Belgians don’t like that type of cycling publicity to be public.

And look who has been involved with this team.  Johan Bruyneel ran the team from 2007-2009.  I’m sure he cleaned it up.  Then, after his departure, Vino and the crew must have just fallen off the wagon, since they’ve had so many doping positives since.  And Lance and the other US guys involved in the USADA investigation show us how often that the dope tests actually “catch” riders.  Like hardly ever.

The Padova Investigation in Italy stated that Astana had 17, yes 17 of its riders using Dr. Michele Ferrari, who was Lance’s guy and has been banned permanently from the sport of cycling.  He was Vino’s doctor too.  17 seems like a pretty huge number.  I don’t quite understand why all those guys are still racing bikes, but the system is flawed, obviously.    The investigation says that Astana used systematic doping on their team.

Our current Tour de France winner, Astana’s Vinenzo Nibali on the subject

“The problems in this team are also in many others. I don’t think our team is the worst because in other teams there are worse people than there are here, I won’t name names.”

Then – “There’s Mafia in Sicily, as in the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean we’re all gangsters. As cyclists we’re always trying to show transparency. I’ve always practiced clean cycling and I will continue to do so.”

What sound bites, beautiful.

We could go on and on here, but it would take too long.  Enough.

I hope removing the Pro Tour status from Astana will make them go away.  But, of course, Vino is going to fight this tooth and nail.  But, like I stated above, money talks and our sport seems to have blinders on when that is the case.

Maybe, just maybe, Brian Cookson, is the guy, the right guy, to lead us into this new, completely new, era of the sport.  It has always been polluted, just how polluted, I think we’ll find out soon when the CIRC report is released within the next month.  Or so they say.


Our current Tour de France champion, with Vino.  A happy couple at the time.

Our current Tour de France champion, with Vino. A happy couple at the time.


Not quite the same, but close.

Not quite the same, but close.

18 thoughts on “UCI to Suspend Astana’s Pro Tour License ???

  1. donkybhoy

    Astana got caught, that is all.

    No difference between Astana, Sky, Garmin, BMC and the rest.

    Will Ferrari start working for Sky now ; )

  2. Skippy

    Here we go again !

    Lawyers will start raking in the fees , as will the Journos whilst belting out ” Fluff ” .

    How many more versions of the ” Truth ” are we going to see before the TDF ?

    UCI can’t even help Cyclists stay SAFE on the road , so why would they be able to make WADA 2015 code work?

    Austrian roads are clean and in better condition than those in your photos , at present .

  3. Larry T.

    BRAVO to Cookson for having the cojones to take a bite at Astana! Now we see if the UCI’s teeth are sharp or not. If this team just takes a bump down to the next level and scores an invite to Le Beeg Shew with the defending champion, it’s kind of “business as usual”, no? Or maybe like Katusha, they prevail at CAS and escape any sanction.? Since all the stuff we actually know about (so far) involves Kazaks, Russians, etc. it would be easy to think the Italian contingent might be clean and walked into Vino’s big mess after being assured his and the team’s dodgy past was all behind them. But based on the crap that has hit various fan blades in the past few years, who the hell knows? Pro cycling continues to reap what it’s been sowing for far too long. Unless you’re a rich chamois-sniffer or part of the bicycle industry, who would want to invest sponsorship money in this sport?

  4. mm1

    After being burned over Katusha the UCI have done this properly so that it won’t fail at CAS. It takes time to build a case and this is what they’ve done. I don’t know Brian Cookson, but his deputy Martin Gibbs is an old clubmate, a lawyer (I understand that can be a bad thing over in the US, but itsn’t always so elsewhere) and a man of utmost integrity and professionalism. This and CIRC will be painful but the sport will benefit in the long-run.

  5. joriverdog

    I am developing doping fatigue. I raced the national prestige circuit in the 80’s….suspected a few guys…well more than a few back then…dare I say it..yes, 7-Eleven…anyway then I was away from the sport for a decade or so..with Lance I became interested again until I went over to watch the 2nd TDF win..and knew with little doubt he and his teammates were doped. Now my eyes are beginning to glaze over with Astana, Nibali, and Vino. I would like to believe in BMC….and Garmin…and for the most part do…but I am just one nail from forgetting all about pro cycling…..So for one who loves the BIcycle and loves competition…..to say I am close to being done with Pro Cycling…it says they are close to implosion, and the sport will all but disappear for most of us…and it will go back to domestiques getting 50 grand a year and the ”el capo” $150g’s…..maybe that will be a good thing

  6. donkybhoy

    What is this bravo to Cookson BS!

    We know Sky hired Leinders? Yet no investigation? We know Lampre used Ferrari, yet no investigation!

    BMC soignuer caught with 200 ampules of EPO yet no investigation.

    Ibauguren works for Lefevre yet no investigation into their team practices!!

    Martial Saugy who told Armstrong and Bruyneel how to beat EPO test after an introduction from Hein Verbruggen was part of the ISSUL investigation into Astana.

    UCI stinks, pro cycling stinks.

  7. Larry T.

    It’s a BRAVO for finally doing something after too much has happened while the UCI turned a blind eye as you noted in your comments, though without sources to back any of it up, especially the BMC claim which is a new one on me. I say better late than never, but this could be a good start if they’re able to follow through with some genuine penalties.

  8. donkybhoy

    It’ll be a ‘bravo’ if Astana lose its licence. At present they have been suspended. Got to make it stick.

    Remember this Astana team wide doping program only came to light due to an Italian investigation, ‘Padua’, not a UCI investigation. UCI are ok with doping. Part of the fabric of the sport. Will Cookson investigate Sky’s reason for hiring Leinders and the 2 TdFs they won while he was their team doctor? I doubt it.

    Much more information here http://www.dopeology.org

  9. Stu Padasso

    I believe in Lance, I believe in Vino, I even LOVE Johan! These are exactly the kind of soldiers america needs to engage in hand to hand combat with ISIS..
    Dirty Lying Fuckers… makes for a mean ‘fun to watch’ fight… They can do it in the proud colors of Kazakhstan… Vinenzo can ref it…!

  10. Tad Cheswick

    Be careful what you wish for Steve. Word on the street is BMC is about to some guys busted for ozone therapy doping.

  11. Larry T.

    OK Donk, I’ll play the game. Couldn’t find anything using your link about this claim you made –

    “BMC soignuer caught with 200 ampules of EPO yet no investigation.”

    Can you steer me to something on this one? That’s the one I’ve not seen or heard before.


  12. Larry T.

    THANKS. I thought there was something more recent as this is rather old news, no? Cookson wasn’t running the UCI back then so perhaps you should rag on the former regime? I still say BRAVO to Cookson for finally doing something…now we wait to see if the UCI’s bite really stings or gets blunted by technicalities, court decisions, etc.


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