Riis pledges to go to CAS if UCI doesn’t consider Contador’s points for ProTeam licence
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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Riis pledges to go to CAS if UCI doesn’t consider Contador’s points for ProTeam licence

by Shane Stokes at 7:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank director argues against additional penalty

Bjarne Riis Alberto ContadorWith precisely one month remaining before the end of Alberto Contador’s suspension, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team owner Bjarne Riis has vowed to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if the rider’s points are not considered by the UCI.

"If they continue, I will go to the sports tribunal CAS. This is ridiculous," Riis told Telesport.

A rule introduced in the past by the governing body stated that any rider who is suspended for a lengthy period cannot have their points considered for WorldTour/ProTeam licence purposes for a period of two years after their return.

Teams are assessed on their points as part of deciding whether or not they will be granted a WorldTour licence. Those teams in the top fifteen of the points ranking drawn up by the UCI are granted WorldTour licences providing that they satisfy the other conditions of said licences. Of the five teams between sixteenth and twentieth place, three are given licences, while those outside the top twenty of the ranking are refused.

Riis’ Saxo Bank Tinkoff Team has struggled to get points this year and is currently last of the eighteen WorldTour ProTeams. It has just 44 points, almost 20 times less than the leaders Sky Procycling, and 35 points off the seventeenth-placed team, FDJ BigMat.

While the recent addition of Tinkoff Bank to its list of sponsors should increase the budget, enabling Riis to buy more riders, he is still facing a headache if Contador’s points are not considered. The Spaniard is targeting the Vuelta a España after his return and the team’s other riders in the race will be focussed on backing the 2008 race winner rather than collecting their own points.

"The UCI would like to do things in their own interest,” said Riis, clearly unimpressed by the situation. “It would be better if they did more good things for cycling, rather than fighting teams over several things.”

Contador was handed a partially-backdated two year ban on Feburary sixth after CAS deemed him guilty of a doping violation. He tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France, and was stripped of both his victory in that race and also his results in subsequent events, including his win in the 2011 Giro d’Italia.

The UCI’s rule was introduced as an additional penalty for riders who were given long suspensions. Riis feels that this is something which can be challenged before CAS, but would prefer the UCI to relax the rule as the appeal would otherwise take time and money to carry out.

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