• Vincenzo Nibali (yellow) and his Astana team during the 155 km seventh stage of the Dauphine du Criterium (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The International Cycling Union says the doping-tainted Astana team will keep its top-tier racing status next season.
By
AAP

10 Nov 2015 - 8:34 AM  UPDATED 10 Nov 2015 - 9:41 AM

The International Cycling Union (UCI) says the Kazakhstan government-backed squad met "the annual registration criteria" to have its 2016 World Tour licence confirmed.

The team was among several others, including Australia's Orica-GreenEDGE (WorldTour) and Drapac (ProContinental), to have its competitive licence renewed for the 2016 season.

Astana was put under scrutiny after five senior and development squad riders were caught doping with EPO and steroids since August 2014.

In February, the UCI asked its panel to strip the licence after a critical audit of Astana's anti-doping work conducted by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne.

An independent licensing panel, however, ruled later that the team of 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali should keep its elite status. The team was then subjected to monitoring throughout the season.

UCI Press release

On the basis of the files received by the required deadlines and following their evaluation in collaboration with UCI-appointed auditor EY, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today announces the registration of the teams listed below in both the first and second divisions for the 2016 season.

Teams registered as a UCI WorldTeam (1st division):

AG2R LA MONDIALE
ASTANA PRO TEAM
BMC RACING TEAM
FDJ
IAM CYCLING
MOVISTAR TEAM
ORICA GREENEDGE
TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN
TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO
TEAM SKY
TREK FACTORY RACING

It should be noted that all the above were already in possession of UCI WorldTour licence for 2016 but were nonetheless required to meet the annual registration criteria. Seven other teams applying for a new UCI WorldTour licence will be heard by the Licence Commission in the coming weeks as part of the normal application process.

With regards to Astana Pro Team, the Licence Commission has rendered its decision after the team’s four-month review period during which it was monitored by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL).

After reading the conclusions of ISSUL’s report, the Commission has found that the team complied with the measures required of it.

Teams registered as a UCI Professional Continental Team (2nd division):

ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
BORA – ARGON 18
CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS SA
COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS
DELKO MARSEILLE PROVENCE KTM
DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING
FORTUNEO – VITAL CONCEPT
FUNVIC SOUL CYCLES - CARREFOUR
NIPPO – VINI FANTINI
ONE PRO CYCLING
ROOMPOT ORANJE PELOTON
RUSVELO
TEAM NOVO NORDISK
TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE
UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM
VERVA ACTIVEJET PRO CYCLING TEAM
WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT

Six teams applying for UCI Professional Continental status have had their application declined in the first instance and their files have been referred to the Licence Commission in accordance with article 2.16.017.

The UCI will communicate the decisions of the Licence Commission concerning the award of further licences during November and December.