Giro d’Italia May Seek Damages From UCI Over Astana Doping Affair

RCS Sport, organizer of the Giro d’Italia, has said it is ready to ask the world governing body of cycling for damages if the ongoing Astana WorldTour License case has an adverse effect on its 2015 race.

Race Director Mauro Vegni wants to avoid a repeat of Giro d’Italia of 2011 when Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador won the overall title and was stripped of the title because of an ongoing doping case stemming from the Tour de France event in 2010. The case of Contador where he defended himself against using Clenbuterol took 18 months to resolve. Vegni said he is ready to ask the UCI for damages if we should have a repeat of the 2011 case with Contador and remarked that it still bothers him to think of that Giro title they stripped. In 2011 Giro d’Italia, Italian Michele Scarponi who was placed second received the title after the case of Contador closed.

Vegni also remarked he hopes this is a Giro without controversy and a little sun, but he is worried with the Astana case still in the hands of the UCI’s license commission. The Race Director added he told Brian Cookson, the UCI President, that he does not want a team that is under investigation in the Giro d’Italia.

Vegni’s concerns may now have been answered with the UCI License Commission granting the WorldTour license to Team Astana.

This May, Team Astana’s rider Fabio Aru is one of the favorites to win the Giro along with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Team Sky’s Richie Porte, and Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick Step). Fabio Aru finished third last year behind Colombian winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

In another development, Team Astana has revealed training methods for Grand Tour team leaders Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru who are preparing for the Ardennes Classics, the Giro del Trentino, the Tour de France, and Giro d’Italia. Nibali and Aru have been training at altitude at Teide on the Spanish island of Tenerife under the eye of Astana team coach Paolo Slongo and his assistant Maurizio Mazzoleni. Astana team coach explained that Tour de France 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali required the long training camp for clearing his mind of the responsibility and pressure of being the current winner of the Tour de France. Nibali is targeting the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege while Aru is all set to rider in Giro del Trentino before taking on Contador and Porte at the Giro d’Italia.

Slongo remarked a lot has changed for Vincenzo after winning the Tour de France. The Astana team coach said Nibali arrived at Teide a bit overloaded with all the extra things he’d been doing and let us say he was more stressed out than usual. He added the camp was useful in helping clear Nibali’s head and rediscover himself. Slongo also remarked that we worked with him a lot, on what he was missing in the first part of the season such as the changes of rhythm and above threshold efforts. He also commented that the Amstel Gold Race and Fleche-Wallonne will polish his form, while Vincenzo has something to prove at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

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