Argos – Shimano squad keeping fingers crossed for WorldTour licence
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Argos – Shimano squad keeping fingers crossed for WorldTour licence

by VeloNation Press at 10:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
“We think we deserve to have a license, and we have a really good feeling about it.”

John DegenkolbThe announcement of those who will receive WorldTour ProTeam licences for 2013 is due to be made anytime in the next few days and as a result, there are quite a few nervous officials and riders waiting for the UCI decision.

While a WorldTour licence is not absolutely essential for entry to the top races, it makes the process far easier due to the fierce competition for wildcard places. All eighteen teams with the top ranking can ride all of those events, including the three Grand Tours, while typically a very small number of invites are handed out to each.

That creates considerable uncertainty for Pro Continental teams, making long-term planning of schedules difficult, and creates a constant pressure to pick up results.

In contrast, having ProTeam status enables teams to plan much more methodically, structuring its season around having riders in their best form for peak events and also providing their sponsors with the prime coverage which rewards and encourages investment.

The Argos-Shimano team is one of five in a tussle for three remaining places and, according to press officer Bennie Ceulen, there is a degree of optimism that the team will be successful.

“When you look at the points, we are in sixteenth place [in the UCI’s hierarchy of teams – ed.], but it does not mean that we automatically get a World Tour license. We think we deserve to have a license, and we have a really good feeling about it. We hope we get it,” he told Sporten.dk.

On October 29th the UCI announced the identities of the teams ranked in the top fifteen which, providing they meet the other criteria, will get the top licences. Of the teams ranked from sixteenth to twentieth, three additional licences will be handed out.

In order of their points, those squads are Argos - Shimano, Lotto-Belisol, FDJ, Europcar and Saxo Tinkoff.

Earlier this week De Telegraaf suggested that Argos – Shimano would edge out Team Saxo – Tinkoff for one of the licences. The UCI responded by saying that the process was an ongoing one and no decisions had yet been made.

Argos – Shimano has worked hard to get the green light for 2013, riding well this season and gathering a lot of points courtesy of riders such as five-time Vuelta stage winner John Degenkolb and his similarly-rapid team-mate Marcel Kittel. It also enjoys a good ethical reputation.

If it does indeed step up to the top level for 2013, Ceulen said that this would meet the team’s own schedule. “Last year it was not a goal for us to get a World Tour license, but this year it has always been a goal. Last year we were actually only four points away [from being in the twenty teams considered for the eighteen places – ed.], so we hope that we will be successful this year.”

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