Europcar applies for WorldTour licence, French team awaiting UCI decision
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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Europcar applies for WorldTour licence, French team awaiting UCI decision

by VeloNation Press at 8:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Team wants guaranteed starts to all the top races, will increase roster to 25 riders if successful

Pierre RollandPreviously racing as a Pro Continental team, the Europcar squad of Pierre Rolland, Thomas Voeckler and the sprinter Bryan Coquard is looking to expand both its number and scale for 2014.

The French squad has applied to the UCI to try to secure a WorldTour licence for next season, and if it is successful will have automatic right of entry to the three Grand Tours as well as all of the other WorldTour races.

It previously has had to rely on wildcard invites for those, although its status as one of France’s top teams meant that it had little difficulty in getting into the sport’s biggest event.

Team manager Jean René Bernaudeau said that the necessary documentation had been submitted and was registered yesterday. It’s now a matter of waiting to see if that application has been successful.

“We have received the acknowledgement and we just have to wait for the verdict,” he told Sud Ouest. He’s clear on the benefits to the team if it gets a green light. “Our sponsor would be able to access all the major races, including the Vuelta.”

In previous years competition for WorldTour places have been fierce and teams such as Europcar have lost out. However this time round there is reason for confidence; the Euskaltel Euskadi and Vacansoleil DCM teams have stopped, leaving the sport without their WorldTour licences.

It means that provided the paperwork is in order and the necessary financial guarantees are in place, that the Europcar squad can be optimistic about making the step up.

Bernaudeau states that the team would grow slightly in roster size if a green light is given by the UCI vis-à-vis that application.

“I currently have 22 riders, a little too much for our current level,” he said, referring to Pro Continental status. “But if we pass into the World Tour, I will take three more. But I will not go beyond that, I do not want to splurge out.”

Although it didn't take a stage in the Tour, the team has had a solid season with 26 wins. These include stages in the Tour de Langkawi, Paris-Nice, the Presidential Tour of Turkey and the Critérium du Dauphiné, plus the overall in the Route du Sud, the Tour du Poitou Charentes and the Circuit de la Sarthe.

The team also took one day wins in GP Cholet – Pays de Loire, the Tour du Finistère and last month’s Châteauroux Classic de l'Indre - Trophée Fenioux.

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