Cycling's governing body, the UCI, has this evening confirmed that it has renewed Team Astana's registration for 2010, meaning that the Kazakhstan-based outfit will keep its ProTour licence for 2010, as well as the services of Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.
The Spaniard, linked with a number of other teams in recent weeks, said last week said that he planned to see out his current contract with Astana in 2010, subject to its license being renewed.
Although the team still needs to furnish the financial guarantees that the UCI requested yesterday, the fact that its registration has been renewed represents a vote of confidence in the team, which currently tops the UCI world rankings.
The Astana designation may disappear, however, as a result of the team being backed next year by state holding company Samruk-Kazyna, whose name it is expected to adopt.
News of Astana’s registration means that another piece of the close-season jigsaw may well have fallen into place. With Contador presumably staying where he is, it means that Bradley Wiggins will likely be held to the last year of his contract at Garmin-Slipstream instead of being released to join Team Sky.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.