Doping-tainted Astana cycling team keeps top-tier status

AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) The doping-tainted Astana cycling team will keep its top-tier racing status next season.

The International Cycling Union says the Kazakhstan government-backed squad met the ''annual registration criteria'' to have its 2016 World Tour license confirmed.

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 sport's governing body asked its panel to strip the license following a critical audit of Astana's anti-doping work 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 then faced monitoring throughout the season.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.