Saxo Bank team chief Bjarne Riis to appear before UCI hearing on Monday
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Saxo Bank team chief Bjarne Riis to appear before UCI hearing on Monday

by Shane Stokes at 6:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Licence Commission will weight up whether squad should lose ProTeam licence

Saxo BankThe process to determine if the Saxo Bank team will keep or lose its ProTeam licence moves forward a step on Monday, with team owner Bjarne Riis due to appear before the UCI.

The Dane will speak to the Licence Commission about the removal of Alberto Contador’s loss of results following his sanctioning for his Clenbuterol positive plus, crucially, the effects this has had on Saxo Bank’s points total.

“I can confirm that we have been summoned to a hearing on 27 February, and we obviously are in full preparation for that,” team press officer Anders Damgaard told “We look forward to come in and give our view on the matter.”

The UCI confirmed earlier this month that the team could potentially be demoted to Pro Continental level, depending on what the Licence Commision decides.

“Because the disqualification of Alberto Contador means that the team will lose a lot of points, the UCI will ask the licence commission to set up a new hearing,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told VeloNation on February 6th.

“Our rules say that if there is a major change in the financial, sporting or ethical aspect, that the UCI can at any moment ask the licence commission to review the position of the team.” He added that the team was made fully aware of this when it was registered prior to the start of the 2012 season.

How the maths stack up:

Contador clocked up 471 WorldTour points last year thanks to results such as victory in the Giro d’Italia and Volta a Catalunya. This amount represented a staggering 67.6% of Saxo Bank’s total haul and, without that, the team woud have finished last in the UCI WorldTour rankings.

Confusingly, the points for WorldTour licences are calculated using a slightly different system, but Saxo Bank’s loss of points would have had a similar effect there.

Given that it emerged that he had tested positive after the point in time that he was signed by the Saxo Bank squad, Riis didn’t know of the issue when the contracts were finalised. However he later became aware of the potential loss in points, yet decided anyway to throw the team’s full weight behind Contador in his campaigns for the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and other races.

Due in part to that one-dimensional approach, only seven other Saxo Bank riders scored WorldTour points last season. Of those, four riders – Richie Porte, Baden Cooke, Jonas Jorgensen and Gustav Larsson – scored ten points or less.

This meant that if Contador’s points were ultimately docked, the team would be left in a predicament as regards its total. That has now come to pass, and the Licence Commision now has the power to decide its future in the WorldTour.

AIGCP president Jonathan Vaughters has indicated that that teams’ association could potentially try to help Saxo Bank to hold onto its licence. He has spoken about the issue on Twitter, saying that he considers the UCI rule as one which penalises teams harshly.

It is not yet clear if the view is shared by the AIGCP as a whole but, if they are, Saxo Bank has an ally if things get tricky.

Contador is currently suspended from racing and is no longer part of the team. However both he and the squad have indicated that the working relationship is likley to be renewed when he is clear to return in August.


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