UCI states that 1T4i can’t get a ProTeam licence, even if others drop out of contention
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

UCI states that 1T4i can’t get a ProTeam licence, even if others drop out of contention

by Shane Stokes at 3:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
WorldTour coordinator says Geox TMC financial difficulties won’t enable 21st-ranked team to apply

UCI WorldTourThe UCI has this evening confirmed that even if the Geox TMC team does not continue with its application for a ProTeam licence for 2012, that the 1T4i team will not be able to take its place in the running for a slot.

Contacted by VeloNation this evening, UCI WorldTour coordinator Javier Barrio confirmed that the list of teams satisfying the sporting criteria released yesterday was effectively binding, with only the twenty named squads in the running.

He said that even if one or more of those teams dropped out of consideration, that no other squads would be allowed enter the battle for a ProTeam licence.

“Whatever issues the top 20 teams on the sporting criterion have with respect to the other 3 criteria [financial, ethical and administrative – ed.], that does not alter the sporting ranking,” he said. “The UCI rules are clear, only the top 20 teams may be considered for UWT [UCI WorldTour] status.”

The news will be a big blow to the 1T4i team, which had hoped that there might still be a chance to secure the top licence.

The UCI yesterday issued confirmation of the identities of fifteen teams which had already satisfied the ProTeam sporting criteria, one of four considerations for a licence, and also named the squads between places sixteen and twenty. These five teams are fighting for three remaining ProTeam places.

These are, in order of ranking, AG2R La Mondiale, Geox-TMC, FDJ, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Team Europcar. The 1T4i team, previously known as Skil-Shimano, finished a handful of points behind Europcar in 21st place.

The Geox-TMC team has a question mark over its ability to raise the necessary budget for 2012 after its primary sponsor Geox failed to provide the bank guarantee required by the UCI, and then announced that it was ending its backing of the squad.

This led to the team’s sporting manager Joxean Fernández Matxin appealing for a replacement sponsor, saying that the team could continue if another backer came on board. However Matxin himself said that one would need to be in place by October 30th, four days from now.

Barrio confirmed that if Geox TMC is forced to stop, that it would mean just four teams would be chasing three places. “That’s correct, assuming all top fifteen teams on the sporting criterion present no significant issues with respect to the other three criteria,” he said. “Otherwise, there might be more than three places to chase after.”

However even if more teams run into difficulty, he states that the UCI rules are set; only those squads named yesterday in the top twenty will be considered.

Unfortunately for 1T4i, unless the UCI relaxes what seems to be a very rigid rule, the team must wait another year before trying to move to the top level. Even if a multitude of teams fail in their application for a ProTeam licence, Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb, Patrick Gretsch and others will have to rely on wildcard invitations to the WorldTour events in 2012.

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