PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Kazakhstani team Astana has not been granted a ProTour licence for next season. French newspaper L'Equipe reported that team manager Marc Biver was told on Wednesday that the team did not meet the necessary UCI requirements in time. A disappointed Biver has until Friday next week to appeal the decision, and also could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The UCI's official position is that the application was late. Other teams, such as Unibet.com and Barloworld have also applied for ProTour licences, and have submitted their documentation in time. The situation has been complicated by the continuing involvement of Manolo Saiz and Active Bay in the team. Manolo Saiz is one of the central figures in Operacion Puerto, and many ProTour teams are not happy that he is still pulling the strings. His management company, Active Bay, still holds Astan 's ProTour licence, and Saiz has refused to sell it to the Kazakhstanis. Active Bay also has riders under contract for up to two more years. Should Astana finally be refused a ProTour spot, then either Unibet or Barloworld will be happy to fill the vacancy. But it may mean that riders such as Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Andreas Klden, and Paolo Savoldelli are left out in the cold next season.
Hamilton lost in translation
Tyler Hamilton claims the comments he made when he signed for Tinkoff Credit Systems last week were misinterpreted by his team's press office. At the time, he was quoted in both English and Italian as saying, "I made a big mistake, and the price I had to pay for that was very high." Indeed, the title of that press release was, "I want to win clean." A change of tune for Tyler? A veiled confession of some sorts? Not so, according to a clarification issued by Hamilton and Tinkoff this week. When contacted by Procycling, Tinkoff's press officer Oxana Grigorova told us, "Tyler Hamilton would like to point out that the original meaning was lost in translation, and the initial English phrase should sound like: 'There have been mistakes and the price that I had to pay was very high.' It is very significant for the rider to clarify the fact that he has never confessed to taking any banned substances, and his suspension was a result of a series of mistakes." It's still not clear who or what was responsible for the mistakes. If filmmaker Sofia Coppola is short of material for her next flick, she knows where to turn.
Francisco Mancebo could well return to racing next season with pro continental team Relax-GAM. Mancebo raced for AG2R-Prevoyance this year, but was implicated in Operaci¢n Puerto and suspended by his team in June. At the time, he announced that he would retire from cycling, but over the last few months has reconsidered his future. Spanish sources report that he is close to signing for Relax-GAM, and will officially join the team at the start of next week. Santi Prez and Dani Moreno will also join the Spanish pro continental team. Meanwhile, a rider in a similar position to Mancebo - Oscar Sevilla - has reached an agreement to break his contract with T-Mobile. Sevilla, another Puerto casualty, has been suspended since the end of June, but hasn't been officially sacked. He and T-Mobile came to an out of court agreement this week in order to avoid any legal proceedings.