UCI decision on Astana on Wednesday

The Astana-Wrth team are likely to find out on Wednesday their fate with regard to the Tour de Fran

The Astana-Wrth team are likely to find out on Wednesday their fate with regard to the Tour de Fran

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The International Cycling Union is expected to give a deliver a verdict tomorrow (Wedesday) which will decide whether the Astana-Wrth will be able to line up in next month's Tour de France. Following the recent withdrawal of Liberty Seguros from sponsorship of the Spanish team managed by Manolo Saiz, new backing has been found from five Kazakh companies operating under the name Astana, which is the name of the Kazakh capital.

The UCI is not likely to have any difficulty confirming that the new backers have the money to support the team, but there could be problems related to the ProTour's ethical code for the team following Saiz's arrest by Spanish police last month. However, Saiz's decision to step aside from team management duties temporarily, as well as from membership of the ProTour commission and the pro teams' association, should work in Astana's favour. Of course, it should also be remembered that Saiz has yet to be charged with anything following his arrest and subsequent release.

Meanwhile, Comunitat Valenciana are clearly planning on their Tour place remaining open despite the involvement of their now former directeur sportif, Jos Ignacio Labarta, in the same blood doping affair as Saiz. Several of their likely Tour riders spent the weekend training in the Alps and checking out the Tour stages in that region.

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