Astana's future remains uncertain

Updated: May 31, 2009, 3:12 PM ET
Associated Press

ROME -- Astana survived a UCI deadline Sunday to straighten out its finances, although the future of Lance Armstrong's team is still unclear.

"The financial woes that left salaries unpaid are not completely resolved yet," Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel said in a statement. "Moreover, the UCI now wants more guarantees about the team for the rest of the year. The UCI will decide soon about the near future of the team. We hope to know more in the coming days.

"The best solution is that we can continue with our current structure. I expect that we will have a team at the start of the Tour de France."

Astana's next races before the Tour de France kicks off July 4 are the Tour of Luxembourg, Dauphina Libere and Tour of Switzerland.

"I am hopeful and confident that we can ride those races," Bruyneel said.

Astana receives most of its financial support from Kazakh state holding company Samruk-Kazyna, but the Central Asian nation's economy has been badly hit by the global financial crisis.

While Armstrong is riding for free this season, the rest of the team's riders are missing two months of salary.

The missed payments forced Armstrong and seven other team members to protest by wearing jerseys with the sponsor names faded out in the Giro, which ended Sunday.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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