UCI Licence Commision preserves Saxo Bank ProTeam licence
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Monday, April 02, 2012

UCI Licence Commision preserves Saxo Bank ProTeam licence

by Shane Stokes at 12:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Rules that Bjarne Riis’ team shouldn’t be demoted after Contador sanction

Saxo BankThe UCI’s Licence Commission has ruled that the Saxo Bank team shouldn’t lose its WorldTour licence on the basis of Alberto Contador’s sanctioning by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the loss of his 2011 results.

Following the Contador ruling on February 6th, the UCI lodged a request with the Licence Commission relating to the regulation 2.15.040. It noted that Contador’s points made up two thirds of the team’s total points, and that without those being included in the total, there was a question about whether the team met the required standard for WorldTour inclusion.

The Licence Commision has accepted that the team no longer meets those criteria, but feels that the circumstances of the case don’t warrant the removal of a licence originally granted on November 18th of last year.

It has therefore ruled that the team can retain its place in the top eighteen squads. However, it has also made clear that it will be reassessed at the end of the season.

“As the Team Saxo Bank licence expires on 31 December 2012, the team will be required to satisfy all the criteria taken into account by article 2.15.011 of the regulations should it wish to compete again as a UCI ProTeam in 2013,” the UCI said in a statement.

It’s president Pat McQuaid acknowledged the ruling and said that the UCI wouldn’t dispute the Licence Commission findings.

“UCI followed the correct procedure in accordance with the rules. The Licence Commission carried out its work and took its decision in an entirely independent manner and therefore we accept this ruling in a serene manner.”

Contador is currently banned from competition until August. He has said that he may return with Riis’s team, but this is not yet certain.

However, if he does, this may present Riis with a peculiar problem. The UCI has said that it won’t consider the points of suspended riders until two years after their return, meaning that Riis would both have to pay his wage bill and also ensure that he has enough high ranking riders on his roster to meet the UCI’s points requirements for 2013.

His team is currently struggling to amass those points, with Saxo Bank sitting last in the standings. As of yesterday, it has a mere two points, 69 less than seventeenth-placed FDJ BigMat, and 374 points off the total of current leaders Liquigas-Cannondale.

Essentially, Riis has dodged a bullet, but still faces a battle to ensure his team is still part of the WorldTour next season. This is compounded by the fact that it has a sponsorship agreement that’s negotiated year by year.

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