Team Saxo Tinkoff said to be in danger of losing WorldTour place
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Team Saxo Tinkoff said to be in danger of losing WorldTour place

by VeloNation Press at 5:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Argos-Shimano tipped to edge out Danish team

Saxo TinkoffThe official pronouncement is due to be released soon by the UCI but, according to reports, Alberto Contador’s Team Saxo-Tinkoff may have to rely on wildcard invites to get into major races in 2013, with the squad looking set to miss out on a WorldTour licence.

On October 29th the UCI announced the identities of the teams ranked in the top fifteen which should – providing they meet the other criteria – receive the top licences. In addition to that, it named five teams which would fight it out for the three remaining places.

These were numbered sixteenth to twentieth in the sporting hierarchy and, in order of ranking, were Argos-Shimano, Lotto-Belisol, FDJ, Europcar and Saxo Tinkoff.

According to De Telegraaf, two of those three places have already been settled, with Lotto-Belisol getting one of the licences. The newspaper claims that the final slot goes down to either Argos-Shimano or Team Saxo Tinkoff, and that the Dutch squad is the one which the UCI will select.

The issue for Team Saxo-Tinkoff is a UCI rule which states that all those riders returning from a lengthy ban cannot have their points considered for the sporting value hierarchy for a further two years. It means that Contador, the team’s most successful rider, is not counted.

If De Telegraaf is correct, the Danish squad will have to lobby race organisers for wildcard places. Contador’s presence will be welcomed by many of the major races and this should guarantee an invite for those events. However the team will be less certain of competing in the races which the Spaniard doesn’t ride, with the Giro d’Italia and possibly the Vuelta a España amongst those.

The northern Classics will also be affected as the Spaniard has never expressed an intent to compete in Paris-Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders in 2013. Similarly, the Santos Tour Down Under, Milan-Sanremo and other such events could also be affected.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff owner Bjarne Riis has strongly protested the UCI’s stance in relation to the withholding of Contador’s points and at one stage even said that he would take the governing body to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

That ultimately didn’t happen, leaving the Dane reliant on the decision of the Licencing Commision. An announcement is expected to happen in the next few days.

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