||[Dec. 14th, 2006|06:25 pm]
Astana will ride in the three Grand Tours in 2007 with or without a ProTour license Tour de France organisers ASO told Astana team manager Mario Kummer.|
Jean-Francois Pescheux, the head of the ASO, told Kummer his squad are assured of a place in the Giro, the Tour, and the Vuelta a Espana, Belgian newspaper Sportwereled reported on their website on Thursday.
Though the International Cycling Union (UCI) have said that the Kazakh-Swiss team, led by Vuelta champion Alexandre Vinokourov, will not get a ProTour license, Walter Godefroot held out hope.
"There was indeed that negative recommendation of the license commission, but at that time our filing was not complete. Now it is," the Astana boss said.
"It would be logical that Astana receives ProTour status. We fulfil all the conditions."
UCI Chairman Pat McQuaid said that Astana had no chance for the license after their initial rejection, but Godefroot dismissed the suggestion.
"McQuaid has only been in charge for one year. Maybe he still needs to learn his job."
In addition to Vinokourov, Astana's roster for 2007 includes Vuelta third-place finisher Andrey Kashechkin, Tour de France third-place finisher Andreas Klöden, and former Giro D'Italia victor Paolo Savoldelli.