Geox-TMC still hoping for ProTeam licence, talks ongoing with potential sponsors
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Monday, October 31, 2011

Geox-TMC still hoping for ProTeam licence, talks ongoing with potential sponsors

by Shane Stokes at 12:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
UCI states that files sent to licence commission but bank guarantee not paid as yet

Geox TMCClub Deportivo Bike Live, the management structure of the Geox-TMC team, has not yet met the UCI deadline to provide a bank guarantee but still has hopes of getting a ProTeam licence for 2012. VeloNation spoke to both the UCI and to the team’s sporting manager Joxean Fernández Matxin today to get the latest on the situation with the Spanish squad.

“We are still speaking to potential sponsors, the talks are ongoing,” Matxin confirmed this afternoon. “We are trying to find a replacement for Geox and still hope to get a ProTeam licence for next season. If that isn’t possible, we will continue as a Pro Continental team.”

UCI press officer Enrico Carpani was unable to confirm if the bank guarantee had been paid or not but VeloNation understands that this requirement has not been satisfied as yet. However Carpani suggested that there was a chance that a later submission of the guarantee might not necessarily disqualify the team.

“The deadline is the 31st of October, today, because today the dossier was sent from Ernst and Young [UCI's auditors -ed] to the licence commission, with all the elements having been gathered by Friday,” he said. “During the weekend the files were put together and today that report was sent to the commission.

“Having said that, the licence commission which is supposed to make the decision could decide to take into consideration new elements or documents that a team could produce before the hearing, such as a bank guarantee. That said, they could decide it is too late, that they don’t want to take the documents into consideration, that it is all over. Or they could say, ‘okay, you have something more, let us take a look at it.’”

He said that ultimately, it will be the commission which will have the last word. “It is a decision that belongs exclusively to the licence commision,” Carpani explained. “There isn’t any guarantee that what you might achieve [in terms of late submissions] could improve your situation…it would be done on a case by case basis.”

Rider lineup also crucial:

Even if the team manages to secure the funding for the bank guarantee and secure a replacement sponsor for Geox, the Italian footwear company which suddenly and unexpectedly withdrew its backing this month, it faces another challenge. It was ranked seventeenth out of twenty on the UCI’s sporting level, therefore making it one of five squads fighting it out for three ProTeam licences.

However that ranking is dependant on the team retaining the services of the riders which made up the overall ranking points for the squad. As was reported earlier today, Denis Menchov has been linked to a possible move to the Katusha squad, this potentially taking many of the team’s points. Fabio Duarte has already been confirmed as leaving the team, with the 25 year old being set to race for Colombia-Coldeportes next year.

According to the UCI, any pronounced change could see the team’s candidature reassessed and, potentially, downgraded.

“The team appears to be losing riders,” Carpani said. “It is currently ranked seventeenth based on the riders it had when the application was made. If the general situation of a team changes, the Licence Commission can take a decision…at the end of the entire proceeding, as what happened last year, they could be registered as Pro Continental.

“It’s similar in some ways to the Alberto Contador situation. If Contador is sanctioned after the conclusion of all the proceedings, the UCI will ask the licence commission to reanalyse the position of the Saxo Bank SunGard team, as under our rules. It could potentially decide to take away his points from the team’s total, and then it would have to be decided if the team would remain at its current level.”

However Matxin suggests that Menchov’s departure is not a done deal. “If we get a sponsor, I believe he could stay with us,” he said. “It is not certain that he will leave.”

The UCI is expected to release the list of the first fifteen ProTeams tomorrow. The identities of the other three are expected to be announced on November 20th, meaning that a Licence Commission meeting for the team will likely occur in the next two weeks.

Before then, Matxin and the others in Club Deportivo Bike Live will do their utmost to secure additional backing for 2012, and also to try to keep their top riders on board. The team is not finished, but it needs to keep fighting to keep its ProTeam ambitions alive.


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