No Tour de France guarantee for Saxo Bank if WorldTour licence is removed
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No Tour de France guarantee for Saxo Bank if WorldTour licence is removed

by VeloNation Press at 7:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Tour organisers say Riis’s team would have to seek a wildcard like other squads

It’s still too soon to say if the UCI will remove Saxo Bank’s WorldTour licence but if that happens, Tour de France organisers won’t guarantee that the team will take part in the race.

“It is ASO’s management which will take the decision,” the company’s spokesman Christophe Marchadier told “And that means that Bjarne Riis must wait until March before he is told. No wildcards will be awarded in advance.”

The team would normally have an automatic right to participation due to its UCI ProTeam status, but the UCI confirmed this week that the licence would be re-examined after Alberto Contador lost out in the WADA/UCI appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The two bodies successfully overturned the decision of the Spanish federation RFEC to clear him of his Clenbuterol positive. CAS ruled this week that the substance most likely entered his system due to tainted supplements, handed him a backdated two year ban and stripped him of his results dating back to the now-annulled 2010 Tour victory.

The complication for Riis is that Contador had amassed over two thirds of the team’s points in 2011; without those points, the UCI’s licence commission must now assess if the team is of the required quality to remain in the top ranks of the sport.

“If the points obtained by Alberto Contador, representing approximately 68% of the Saxo Bank-Sungard team's total points, are disregarded, his team would no longer be considered to fulfil the sporting criterion required for the UCI WorldTour,” the UCI stated earlier this week.

It is expected to examine that licence soon and then make its ruling. In the meantime, Riis and his riders have a nervous wait, particularly as ASO has made clear that there are no guarantees.

“There are four wild cards for the Tour. There is no information yet as to how they will be distributed,” said Marchadier. “We will decide that next month.”

Contador is eligible to return to racing on August 6th, and will most likely target victory in the Vuelta a España. However under the UCI’s rules, the points he gathers in the next two years won’t count towards his team.

Also see: Analysis - how UCI’s Licence Commission could strip Saxo Bank of its ProTeam licence


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