UCI confirms initial 2014 ProTeam and ProContinental team applications
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Friday, October 4, 2013

UCI confirms initial 2014 ProTeam and ProContinental team applications

by Ben Atkins at 11:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
18 teams chasing 18 places in next year’s WorldTour

uciThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed the names of the teams that have submitted the necessary paperwork to apply for ProTeam or Professional Continental status in 2014 by the October 1st deadline. All teams will have supplied sponsorship contracts with their major partners, a bank guarantee to protect riders’ wages, and - for new teams - a description of the team’s structure and a copy of the deed of incorporation of the paying agent.

With the process under way, the UCI will get it completed by November 4th, provided that there are no “irregularities,” which will be a big contrast to the process that awarded the 2013 licenses. The final decision was not made until December 10th last year, which was little more than a month before the WorldTour was set to begin at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Even then an appeal to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) from the Katusha Team, which was initially refused registration on ethical grounds, meant that the process dragged on until mid-February. Katusha’s successful appeal meant that the UCI was forced to admit 19 teams into the 18-team WorldTour, which caused problems for a number of race organisers who had already distributed wildcard invitations.

Of the 19 ProTeams from 2013, 12 already have a licence for the 2014 WorldTour. Five of the other seven are applying for renewal, while Euskaltel-Euskadi and Vacansoleil-DCM are both set to fold at the end of the year. Just one team is applying for a new licence, in the shape of French Team Europcar, which was part of the sport’s first division - as Bouygues Telecom - between 2002 and 2009 before being nudged out by big money players like Sky and RadioShack.

The other new name on the list is that of Trek Factory Racing, with the Wisconsin bike maker having bought the licence from the current RadioShack-Leopard team.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff will revert to plain Team Saxo Bank, initially at least, as Oleg Tinkoff takes his money elsewhere. The Russian is rumoured to be about to join Cannondale, which has been searching for a co-sponsor since Liquigas pulled out at the end of last year, although the team has refused to comment on this.

With one fewer team on the applications list to last year, the UCI is theoretically faced with the simple task of granting 18 registrations to 18 teams. Each of them has to satisfy the regulatory requirements, however, and will be evaluated according to sporting, administration, financial and ethical criteria.

It was this process that Katusha initially fell foul of last year, before winning its CAS appeal.

So far, there have been 16 applications for ProContinental licences in 2014, four less than the total of 20 this year. Aside from Europcar, which is applying for ProTeam status, missing are Champion System, Crelan-Euphony, Sojasun and Bretagne-Séché. The first three of those are confirmed as folding, while the fourth is expected to continue and presumably has yet to file its papers.

While Belgian team Accent.jobs-Wanty is listed, the team is to become Wanty in 2014, with the current co-sponsor moving across to be run by current Vacansoleil-DCM directeur sportif Hilaire Van Der Schueren. The line-up is expected to be made up of a mixture of riders from both teams.

Drapac Professional Cycling is the only team to have moved up from Continental level to take one of the four teams’ places. The Australian team has made a number of signings, including Jonathan Cantwell from Saxo-Tinkoff, as it steps up from Oceania Continental level.

The current Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team is listed simply as "Yellow Fluo" - or giallo fluo - which is the team’s nickname in reference to its distinctive bright livery. The team is expected to continue in 2014 - despite a number of doping scandals in 2013 - but, with Vini Fantini joining Continental Nippo-De Rosa next year, its name has yet to be announced.

The presence of both IAM Cycling and MTN-Qhubeka on the list of ProContinental teams confirms that - despite their ambition - neither has decided to take the big step up to ProTeam status after just one year in the second division.

UCI ProTeams in possession of a UCI WorldTour licence for 2014
AG2R La Mondiale
Belkin Pro Cycling Team
BMC Racing Team
Omega Pharma-Quick Step
Team Argos-Shimano
Team Katusha
Team Saxo Bank
Trek Factory Racing (licence currently held by RadioShack-Leopard)

Teams applying for a new/renewed UCI WorldTour licence
Astana Pro Team
Movistar Team
Team Europcar (currently at ProContinental level)
Team Sky

UCI Professional Continental Teams
Androni Giocattoli
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
CCC Polsat-Polkowice
Cofidis, solutions crédits
Drapac Professional Cycling
IAM Cycling
Team NetApp-Endura
Team Novo Nordisk
Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
Yellow Flou (currently Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)


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