Sastre says he doesn’t understand why UCI turned down Geox-TMC’s ProTeam application
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sastre says he doesn’t understand why UCI turned down Geox-TMC’s ProTeam application

by Conal Andrews at 7:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Spanish pro believes an error has been made

Carlos SastreTwo days after his Geox-TMC team was refused a ProTeam licence, 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre has said that he is mystified by the decision, and believes that the UCI has made a mistake.

“Really, I did not expect it and the truth is that the decision has surprised me,” the Spaniard said today. The team had been ranked 17th on the UCI’s sporting hierarchy of teams, but it and Cofidis (ranked 19th) were passed over. Sastre said that he had not been told the reasons why.

“I can not assess the criteria which was used to grant the licenses because I do not fully know the details and the basis on which the selection system is based.”

Some teams have indicated that they were taken by surprise when the UCI printed its list of the sporting hierarchy of teams, saying that they were given no prior indication as to how this would be calculated. There have also been some general complaints about a lack of transparency to the process.

Some observers have suggested that the Geox-TMC’s refusal may have been in relation to the ethical requirements as several of team manager Mauro Giantetti’s Saunier Duval team tested positive in the past. The best known cases relate to the 2008 Tour de France, when Riccardo Ricco and Leonardo Piepoli were found to be positive for CERA.

However other teams granted a licence also have had problems in the past, and unless the UCI makes the reasoning clear, it is impossible to know why it was refused.

Sastre is convinced that it is an error. “It's a disappointment because I believe that now, more than ever, cycling needs new projects, such as Geox-TMC, which combines experience and youth and is supported by a major company that has decided to invest in our sport. That’s not only in a professional team, but also with women’s cycling and the organization of children's activities, in an attempt to rebuild people's enthusiasm for cycling.”

Sastre reportedly had tried to return to Saxo Bank prior to signing with Geox-TMC. Had he done so, he’d now be with a ProTeam. However he said that he remained convinced that the new project was a good one, “because I am confident in the experience that Denis Menchov and myself bring as riders, in the youth and the desire of the staff, and in the professionalism that Gianetti and Matxin show in the areas of management and direction.”

The team seems very likely to get an invitation in the Vuelta a España, but will have to lobby now for wildcard places for the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Sastre won the 2008 Tour, while Menchov triumphed in the 2009 Giro. The latter was third overall in this year’s Tour.

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