Vincenzo Nibali foresees 'no problems' over Astana's WorldTour licence

2014 Tour de France winner expects his Astana team to be granted a WorldTour licence in 2015, despite four riders failing drugs tests

Vincenzo Nibali on stage fourteen of the 2014 Tour de France

(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Vincenzo Nibali is confident that the UCI’s Licensing Commission will grant Astana a WorldTour licence for 2015, despite the team having four riders suspended for failing drugs tests in recent months.

The Iglinsky brothers, Valentin and Maxim, tested positive for EPO in September and October respectively, and the failed steroids test of llya Davidenok threw the team’s WorldTour status into doubt.

Even though development rider Victor Okishev tested positive last week, Nibali insists he is planning as usual for the new season in the expectation that a WorldTour licence will be granted.

In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Nibali said: “I only know what has been written in newspapers and websites, I know no more. It's easy to take aim at the big teams – it is what has happened to Sky. But I do not think there will be big problems for the license. Meanwhile, my plans do not change.”

Those plans, Nibali again hinted, do not include the Giro d’Italia, with the Italian prepared to skip his home race in favour of attempting to defend his Tour de France title.

But Nibali claims Astana will not be weakened by his absence, with 24-year-old Fabio Aru the likely rider to head the team after his third-place finish in 2014.

“The Giro d'Italia, will be difficult to ride because Astana also has the Aru option. The Tour de France, that remains the most important goal of my season,” Nibali said.

The UCI’s Licensing Commission is expected to decide in December whether Astana’s WorldTour licence will be renewed.

Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport

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