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Meanwhile, Euskaltel-Euskadi and AG2R La Mondiale retain top-flight status, but Europcar misses out

New Australian outfit GreenEdge and RadioShack-Nissan, the team formed from the merger of RadioShack and Leopard Trek which includes both Schleck brothers and Fabian Cancellara, have yet to satisfy the requirements of the UCI Licensing Commission in connection with their respective applications for a WorldTour licence for the 2012 season.

The news was povided in an update on the licensing process for the coming season provided by the UCI, which confirmed that the commission “is currently waiting for the teams to provide additional documents.”

In what is perhaps a signal that completion of the requirements regarding documentation is not a formality, the UCI added: “Therefore, as it stands, 16 teams will take part in the UCI WorldTour 2012. In accordance with UCI regulations, a maximum of 18 UCI ProTeams may take part in the UCI WorldTour.”

The UCI also confirmed that it had rejected an application for a WorldTour licence, which guarantees entry to all UCI World Calendar races including the three Grand Tours and major Classics.

That means that the team will race instead under a Professional Continental licence, and will have to rely on a wild card entry to races such as the Tour de France, as it did this year when its performance gripped the French public with Thomas Voeckler spending ten days in the maillot jaune and Pierre Rolland winning the Alpe d’Huez stage and winning the white jersey for best young rider.

With Geox-TMC withdrawing its application after its efforts to find a replacement sponsor proved unsuccessful, the two teams confirmed as having secured WorldTour registration were existing licence holders AG2R-La Mondiale and Euskaltel-Euskadi.

They had been required to go through the entire registration process as a result of finishing outside the top 15 of the UCI World Ranking this season.

Like RadioShack-Nissan, Vacansoleil-DCM had been waiting for its application to be approved, which has now happened, and it joins Astana, BMC Racing, Lampre-iSD, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar, Rabobank and Team Sky in having its existing licence confirmed.

New licences have been awarded to FDJ and Omega Pharma-Quick Step for 2012-14 and to Katusha and Lotto Belisol for 2012-15; Saxo Bank, which recently announced that the Danish financial institution had renewed its headline sponsorship, has only been granted a license for on year, however.

One school of thought is that the UCI has done so because of the potential impact of Alberto Contador receiving a ban, and being stripped of world ranking points with a knock-on effect on his own team, should the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing taht began yesterday related to his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France go against the Spaniard.

The UCI added that it will publish the full list of teams that have secured Professional Continental status for the coming season on 12 December.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.