The New York Times and other sources are reporting that Team Astana might be about to go the Kazakhstan version of Chapter 11. Only without that whole “restructuring” part.
Astana was launched by a number of Kazakhastan business leaders who wanted to promote tourism and business development in the country. (That’s a great trivia question for cyclists incidentally–no one I ask knows what Astana is.) Seems that the economy is not exactly booming in the former Soviet republic, and the holding company that pays the bills, isn’t.
The UCI has given the team a deadline of the end of the month to get their ducks in a row, or they’re out of the UCI.
There’s not a lot of chance that the Astana team will be saved internally, it might be up to Lance to purchase himself the team in order to compete in the Tour in July.
If not, I’m looking forward to the ebay listing for the team. “Professional cycling team, slightly used but in A++ condition. Includes three Tour de France contenders, one who won eight times. Includes bicycles, uniforms, team trailers and more. Some small unfounded doping allegations, and a recently fractured collarbone. No reserve.”