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Am I relieved? No, not really. I did not expect so many problems and have never lost any sleep."

Photo: Sirotti




12.12.2014 @ 09:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Astana has secured themselves a WorldTour license for 2015. Lieuwe Westra is delighted with the news. "I am glad that the UCI has only looked at the doping cases of the Iglinsky brothers. In principle, the rest of our team has nothing to do with the other cases.", the Dutchman tells WielerFlits.


Two days ago, the UCI License Commission made a decision about a number of licenses. Team Europcar will drop out of the elite division as they did not live up to the financial requirements. The big drama was about Astana and their chance to keep the license. Recently, the team of Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali has been in the spotlight due to five doping cases within the team, including three from the continental squad. In addition, a large number of (former) Astana riders owere n the list of 38 names from the Padova investigaton that was published by La Gazzetta dello Sport two days ago.


Westra is pleased that the UCI has separated the two parts of Astana. "The Iglinsky brothers (Maxim and Valentin, ed.) are out of the system. They are caught and just need to be punished. The other three guys rode for a different team and are amateurs or U23 riders, but they happen to have the Astana name on their jersey. Hence, I am satisfied that the UCI has made ​​that distinction. Am I relieved? No, not really. I did not expect so many problems and have never lost any sleep," the Astana rider says.


Westra is also not too concerned by the Padova investigation. "No. It may sound a little crooked, but they have never actually been caught. So first there needs to be some kind of proof. Until then, you're not guilty in my eyes. I am now sitting here after one year and can only say what I know . Astana is a very professional team and we will do everything possible to bring out the best from ourselves. I've never seen anyting tha was not right in all this time.


"Now it is up to the people to believe it, I realize that. Of course there will be people who don't believe me. I have learnt that from the things that have been written on Twitter. There I won't react as I would then have to cut my fingers off," Westra adds angrily.


Westra claims to never have met Michele Ferrari whom the Padova investigation reports to have visited the Astan camp in November 2013 where the Dutchman was present. "I know from pictures and documentaries what this man looks like. And I have not seen him. If someone claims to have photos with him and one or more Astana riders, he needs to show it. Until then, there is nothing. But in any case, I have neer seen that man and will put my hands in the fire on that. And I can not imagine that I am kept at distance from him and part of the team,"" Westra says.



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