Europcar confirmed in 2014 WorldTour as UCI announces final teams
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Europcar confirmed in 2014 WorldTour as UCI announces final teams

by Ben Atkins at 2:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Four fewer in the sport’s top two divisions after rash of 2013 teams folding

thomas voecklerThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed the names of the teams that will make up the final lists of WorldTour ProTeams and second division Professional Continental teams for 2014, with French Team Europcar stepping up to the top league. Having named the initial nine ProTeams on November 5th, then adding Lotto-Belisol alone on November 25th [although the Belgian team announced the news itself on November 23rd - ed] the UCI has completed the 18-team line up guaranteed for next season’s top races.

Last month’s initial announcement saw AG2R La Mondiale, Belkin Pro Cycling, BMC Racing Team, Cannondale,, Garmin-Sharp, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Katusha and Saxo Bank [currently Saxo-Tinkoff, but to be known as Tinkoff-Saxo next year - ed] all confirmed as ProTeams, with the remainder forced to wait until today.

Of the eight remaining applicants, five were applying for a renewed WorldTour licence, with Europcar applying for a new one altogether. After hearings on November 18th and 22nd, the Licensing Commission has decided to grant licences to all, which means that Astana, Lampre-Merida, Movistar, Orica-GreenEdge and Team Sky will all resume their places in the sport’s top echelon.

The decision sees Europcar return to the top division of the sport for the first time since - as Bbox Bouyges Telecom - it slipped to ProConti level in 2010. The good news for the beleaguered transfer market is that the French team will likely be signing several more riders to take its roster up the to the level needed to compete in the WorldTour.

Argos-Shimano, like Lotto-Belisol, had been called before the Licensing Commission, despite holding a WorldTour licence for next year, “on the grounds of certain irregularities which were still present in their respective file at the time of the drawing up of the UCI assessment.” Lotto-Belisol managed to clear up what it referred to as “two administrative formalities” very quickly, and Argos-Shimano - which is set to change its title sponsor to an as-yet unannounced name - has evidently also done so.

The other decision to make for the Licensing Commission over an existing licence was that of Trek Factory Racing, which has bought the licence from RadioShack-Leopard’s management company. This team has also been granted registration for the 2014 WorldTour, taking the number of teams up to 18.

With Euskaltel-Euskadi and Vacansoleil-DCM both folding at the end of 2013, the UCI has been spared the task of denying a place to an applying team. This means that cycling will not see a repeat of Katusha’s successful appeal to the Court for Arbitration in Sport Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS), after its initial exclusion from the 2013 list, which eventually saw 19 teams in the WorldTour this year.

As well as the final ProTeam registrations, the UCI Licensing Commission also added Bretagne-Séché Environment to the list of Professional Continental teams for 2014. The French team’s inclusion takes the total number of second division teams up to just 17, with Champion System, Crelan-Euphony and Sojasun folding at the end of the year, Europcar stepping up to WorldTour level, and only Drapac stepping up from Continental level.

With 18 ProTeams and 17 ProConti, there will be four fewer teams in the “professional” levels of cycling next year than there were in 2014.

UCI ProTeams

Confirmed on November 5th
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Belkin Pro Cycling (Ned)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Cannondale (Ita) (Fra)
Garmin-Sharp (USA)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step (Bel)
Team Katusha (Rus)
Team Saxo Bank (Den)

Confirmed on November 25th
Lotto-Belisol (Bel)

Confirmed on December 10th
Argos-Shimano (Ned)
Pro Team Astana (Kaz)
Lampre-Merida (Ita)
Movistar Team (Spa)
Orica-GreenEdge (Aus)
Sky Procycling (GBr)
Team Europcar (Fra)
Trek Factory Racing (USA)

UCI Professional Continental teams

Confirmed on November 5th
Androni Giocattoli (Ita)
Bardiani-CSF (Ita)
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spa)
CCC Polsat-Polkowice (Pol)
Cofidis, solutions crédits (Fra)
Colombia (Col)
Drapac Professional Cycling (Aus)
IAM Cycling (Swi)
MTN-Qhubeka (RSA)
RusVelo (Rus)
Team NetApp-Endura (Ger)
Team Novo Nordisk (USA)
Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise (Bel)
UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team (USA)
Wanty-Groupe Gobert (Bel)
Yellow Flou (Ita)

Confirmed on December 10th
Bretagne-Séché Environment (Fra)


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