An Alberto Contador suspension could potentially cost Saxo Bank SunGard its UCI ProTeam licence
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Alberto Contador suspension could potentially cost Saxo Bank SunGard its UCI ProTeam licence

by Shane Stokes at 11:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
UCI states that article 2.15.040 could come into play if CAS annuls Spaniard’s 2011 results

Alberto ContadorWith just over a month left to the start of his hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the future of Alberto Contador’s career hangs in the balance. The same can also be said of Bjarne Riis’s Saxo Bank SunGard team, which could lose more than two thirds of its current WorldTour points if the rider is sanctioned and his results from 2011 annulled.

Saxo Bank SunGard has applied to the UCI for a new licence for 2012. To obtain one replacing that expiring at the end of this season, it must meet the criteria for remaining part of the top level. This is determined on the basis of several factors, including financial, ethical and sporting. The latter consideration refers to the overall standard of the team, which is assessed based on the UCI’s points total of its best 15 riders.

While the precise calculation method used is not disclosed by the UCI and the points brought by new signings will also skew things, the effects of the potential loss of Contador’s points can be approximated by using the WorldTour rankings as a rough calculation. Saxo Bank Sungard current sits ninth in the table with 696 points; all bar 225 of these are obtained from Contador’s total for 2011.

The eighteenth and last team in the UCI ProTeam ranking, Vacansoleil, currently has 369 points, and so Saxo Bank minus Contador would be below this figure.

Only squads in the top fifteen are guaranteed a ProTeam licence, with two of those between fifteen and twenty being dropped to Pro Continental status, as well as all of those outside the top twenty.

Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during last year’s Tour de France. While he was cleared by the Spanish federation RFEC in February, the final decision from CAS on the UCI and WADA’s appeal against that vindication will determine if he will be cleared or punished. That ruling will almost certainly come after the UCI allocates its ProTeam licences for 2012, but the governing body indicated today that the awarding could then be reversed if CAS rules against him.

“If Contador is suspended, article 2.15.040 §2 could be enforced,” a UCI source told VeloNation today, in response to questions about the issue. The wording of the article states that “the licence commission may withdraw the licence…if the information taken into account in granting the licence or the registration of the UCI ProTeam has changed such that the issue conditions are no longer fulfilled, or the commission considers that the new situation does not justify the issue of a licence or registration.”

Riis has said that he believes Contador will be cleared before CAS. If that doesn’t happen, though, his team could potentially be in trouble as regards its licence. It’s one drawback about Riis’ tactic of centring the squad around one rider, and is a situation the Danish owner could avoid by buying up one or more riders with a high number of points.

There’s been no such announcement thus far about major new signings, though, and this may make fans of the team nervous about what a negative CAS ruling could bring.

Only squads with ProTeam licences are guaranteed admission to the WorldTour events; all others must rely on invites from race organisers, including those who run the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.


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