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"Where would I go this late in the season? It’s absurd. I’m not even going to think about it happening.”

Photo: Sirotti

ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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WORLDTOUR

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07.12.2014 @ 15:33 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Should Astana be refused a World Tour licence, Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali would be left scrambling for a team very late in the season.

 

“Where would I go this late in the season?” Nibali told VeloNews last week. “It’s absurd. I’m not even going to think about it happening.”

 

“I could find a team for him in the season, but in December, the teams already have their rosters filled,” Nibali’s agent, Alex Carera told VeloNews.

 

“It would be a very difficult situation for Vincenzo. You could find him a team, but you would need time to do it. And what about Nibali’s group of teammates, his trainer, and others?”

 

Almost all of the teams in the WorldTour have completed their rosters by now and very few teams have the money to finance the signing of Nibali.

 

“He’d need a team with an unlimited budget,” said Belgian Paul De Geyter, agent for cyclists like American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).

 

“Teams like Lotto have a limited budget and they’ve already used all the money from the sponsors. Even if Nibali would agree to 500,000 euros [$615,000], it’d be hard for them to find sponsors to do that. It’d be the bargain of the year for them if they did, though. Maybe they could agree to a small deal for 2015 with a jump, say to 3 million euros [$3.7 million] for the following years.”

 

“He’d really have to look at teams with unlimited budgets — like Tinkoff-Saxo, BMC, and maybe Sky. I don’t think Tejay [van Garderen] or Contador would be happy to have Nibali in the team, though. BMC has a sponsor, Andy Rihs, who’s directly involved with the team. He could see the opportunity and could put in the money. However, Nibali would be lucky if Rihs or Oleg Tinkov agreed throw money at him.”

 

Many people are confident that Astana will be given their licence for the WorldTour and maybe even a Pro Continental licence at worst, where they would need to rely on Wild Cards to get into the sport’s biggest events.

 

“Astana would not have an issue, any organizer would be happy to have Astana on the start,” De Geyter added.

 

“There are already a limited number of teams in the second-division that can race the top events. Maybe the Tour would refuse Astana, but unless it had a good reason, I doubt the organizer would turn away Nibali’s team.”

 

ASO, Tour de France organizer, banned Astana from attending their events in 2008 due to doping issues in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

 

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