UCI approves Astana, Lampre's future in question
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

UCI approves Astana, Lampre's future in question

by VeloNation Press at 2:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

The International Cycling Union (UCI) ProTour Council today has made their rulings on the registration applications submitted by UCI ProTeams and candidates for ProTour licences. As reported earlier today on VeloNation, the Astana team of two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has been granted their ProTour license, but in a surprise development, the UCI has decided against the registration of the Italian team Lampre-Farnese Vini.

This puts an end to months of speculation about Contador's destination for 2010. The Spaniard recently came to an agreement that would have him stay with the team as long as they retained their ProTour status and implemented strict internal doping controls. The UCI said the 15 million euro bank guarantee for their 2010 budget has not yet arrived, but they are confident the account will be funded soon. If the payment is not provided, the UCI has made it clear that the withdrawal of Astana's license would be reactivated.

Now the question remains as to whether the Lampre-Farnese Vini team, led by Italians Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Petacchi, will be able to do anything about the ProTour Council's refusal to register the team. The Council stated it has referred the matter to the Licence Commission which will make a decision on whether or not to withdraw the team's ProTour licence.

The UCI wanted to clarify that the ProTour license and the registration of UCI ProTeams are two different processes. To be part of the UCI ProTour, a team must obtain a license which is valid for 1-4 years. The award is based on sporting, ethical and financial criteria, and takes into account the team's history and guarantees provided for the future. The licence implies the right and obligation to participate in all of the UCI ProTour events. The registration, however, is an annual procedure that makes sure the license holders have the team and budget in place to carry out their activities for the upcoming season.

It is not clear whether the problem with Lampre-Farnese Vini is proof of finances, or if it has to do with the departures of former world champion Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio to the BMC Racing Team, along with Marzio Bruseghin (Caisse d'Epargne), Marco Bandiera (Team Katusha), and Paolo Tiralongo and Enrico Gasparotto to Contador's Astana team.

The following teams are registered and hold a valid ProTour license:
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
Astana (KAZ)
Caisse d’Epargne (ESP)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (ESP)
Footon-Servetto (ESP)
Française des Jeux (FRA)
Garmin-Slipstream (USA)
Liquigas-Doimo (ITA)
Omega Pharma-Lotto (BEL)
Quick Step (BEL)
Rabobank (NED)
Saxo Bank (DEN)
Team Columbia-HTC (USA)
Team Katusha (RUS)
Team Milram (GER)
Team RadioShack (USA)
Team Sky (GBR)

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