BMC Racing wants ProTour licence in 2011
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Monday, January 25, 2010

BMC Racing wants ProTour licence in 2011

by Conal Andrews at 7:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 

The BMC Racing team of Cadel Evans, Alessandro Ballan and George Hincapie has the intention of applying for a ProTour licence for next season, giving another indication that the project will continue to grow.

Chief directeur sportif John Lelangue said that 2011 is the goal to secure the upgrade, ruling out a bid to take over a vacant slot should Lampre fail in its current attempt to hold onto its licence.

"If they lose their licence, I don't see them being replaced for the rest of this year," he told The Australian.

"Nothing changes for us, we will continue to race as a Pro-Continental team and depend on wildcard entries. We have a strong team for the Classics. I'm not afraid of our (racing) calendar for this year, but plan to apply for a ProTour licence for 2011."

This year, the BMC Racing Team must rely on wildcard places to get into cycling’s major events. Taking out a ProTour licence would enable the team to plan its season with greater certainty, as the licence conveys the automatic right of participation in many of the sport’s top races.

While the events run by the Grand Tour organisers – including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España – are separate to the ProTour, holding a licence enhances the number of world ranking points that can be amassed by teams. From 2011 onwards these points will convey automatic rights of participation in those organisers’ races.

The ProTour series looked set to collapse in July 2008 when seventeen of the eighteen teams holding licences told the UCI that they would not be applying for them again. This was due to pressure from ASO, the Tour de France organiser, which was at war with the UCI at the time.

A ceasefire was however worked out later that year, and since then the ProTour has looked far healthier. The success of the Santos Tour Down Under is one example of this, with the 2010 event being the most successful in its history.

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