Cofidis and Geox-TMC miss out on UCI ProTeam licences for 2011

Governing body publishes full list of 18 teams that form cycling's "first division"next year

by Simon_MacMichael   November 23, 2010  

UCI logo on white

World cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has announced the full list of 18 teams that have been awarded ProTeam licences for the 2011 season, with French team Cofidis and the Spanish outfit Geox-TMC, the latter home to two former Grand Tour champions, both missing out.

The UCI had confirmed earlier this month that among those teams with existing ProTour licences, Garmin-Cervélo, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Rabobank and Team Sky had all satisfied the criteria for the new ProTeam licence that replaces those for teams considered to be the “first division” of pro cycling.

The change of name follows October’s announcement of the merger of the former ProTour calendar with cycling’s historic events including the three Grand Tours and cycling’s Monuments such as Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix to create a single, unified UCI World Tour. Teams with ProTeam status will have guaranteed entry to UCI World Tour events.

Now, it has revealed that six other teams with existing ProTour licences will be joining them in what it terms the “first division” of pro cycling – AG2R, Katusha, Lampre, Quick Step, Saxo SunGard and RadioShack.

Completing the line-up are eight teams that either did not have a licence or whose ProTour licence expired at the end of the 2010 season. Those are BMC Racing, Euskaltel-Euskadi, HTC-Highroad, Liquigas-Cannondale, Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project, Movistar (previously Caisse d’Epargne), Astana and Vacansoleil-DCM.

The UCI added that it had refused applications from Cofidis and Geox-TMC (formerly Footon-Servetto), the new home of fromer Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and Vuelta and Giro d’Italia champion Denis Menchov.

Those two teams will now be automatically registered in cycling’s “second division” as UCI Professional Continental teams, and the full list of teams with that status will be announced on 10 December.

Teams that were ranked in the top 15 places of what the UCI terms its “sporting hierarchy,” announced earlier this month, were granted ProTeam status provided they met “the required sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria." That ranking was also partly “calculated using results obtained in 2009 and 2010 by the 15 best riders in their 2011 squads, taking into account all the events on all the circuits of the UCI International Calendar.”

The remaining places were allocated by the UCI to three of the five teams ranked 16th to 20th, and it appears that it is Euskaltel-Euskadi, Quick Step and AG2R that have benefited at the expense of Geox-TMC and Cofidis, which will now have to rely on wlld card invitations to praticipate in cycling's biggest races.