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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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2015 Racing Season Start

We're getting close to the start of the 2015 racing season. We'll begin early January with the Michelton Bay Cycling Classic, which runs January 2-5. Then there will be the People's Choice Classic and the Tour down Under (part of the World Tour), running from January 18 through the 25th. We'll also cover Argentina's Tour de San Luis, rated 2.1 (January 19-25).

UCI Team News

I confess to being surprised that that UCI renewed Astana's ProTeam status after two of its riders Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy (EPO), as well as three riders on Astana's Pro Continental squad were positive for dope. The team has a long history of trouble with doping (when he was a racer, Astana team boss Alexandre Vinokourov was found to have blood-doped during the 2007 Tour de France, triggering the explusion of the entire Astana team from the Tour).

Europcar fell short of the financial requirements to remain a World Tour team (it had that status for just one year) and will go back to being a Pro Continental squad. The squad will have to find a new sponsor. Europcar's sponsorship contract foes through the 2015 season and the firm has said it will not exptend its sponsorship beyond that. Team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau is already hunting for a new title sponsor for the squad that began in 1984 as Systeme U.

UCI President Brian Cookson said:

"In the case of the Astana Pro Team, this remains a very serious situation for our sport given the number of doping cases. We shall be following the situation very closely and are awaiting to review the results of the audit. Meanwhile, the team will have to comply with the two requirements imposed by the Licence Commission. The combined effect of this is that the Astana Pro Team can be considered very much to be on probation.

"Regarding Team Europcar, it is of course regrettable that the team has not been able to secure sufficient financial guarantees to remain in the UCI WorldTour, but I very much hope that they can continue as a Professional Continental Team."

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