UCI Licensing Commission to rule on whether Saxo Bank should lose WorldTour team status
Commission asked to rule whether team meets WorldTour sporting criteria without Contador points
The UCI Licensing Commission has today been asked to rule on whether the Saxo Bank can continue to be a part of the WorldTour following the Court for Arbitration in Sport's decision earlier this week to impose a two year doping ban on Alberto Contador and to strip him of all his results and ranking points earned since the start of last year.
The UCI statment announcing the referall makes the point that according to a strict interpretation of WorldTour rules Saxo Bank without Contador's points Saxo Bank are well short of the required number of points to meet the qualifying sporting criteria for WorldTour status. Under current UCI rules points follow riders and according to the UCI Contador, whose points are now null and void, accounted for 68 per cent of the Saxo Bank total for last year.
The UCI statement announcing the referral did not give a timetable for when a decision would be made, but we can expect that a decision will be made before the European classics season starts in a few weeks time. In any event the simple fact of a referral can only have a destabilising effect on the Saxo Bank riders and management, with there being a real likelihood that should its WorldTour licence be revoked that the team will collapse. With the benefit of hindsight the decision by Bjarne Riis to stick with Contador despite the potential ban hanging over him looks like a colossal error of judgement.
The decision to refer was made at a meeting of the UCI's Professional Cycling Council made up of representatives of teams, riders, and race organisers. The PCC also approved another change to the rules regarding Proteam registration under which any team failing to supply the relevant paperwork by October 20, the date of the sporting evaluation, would be excluded from the registration process.
PCC delegates were also treated to a speech by UCI president Pat McQuaid in which he praised the PCC for "contributing to protect core values of the cycling community", the PCC also approved in principle a new addition to the WorldTour calandar in the shape of the Tour of Hangzhou a five day stage race in China to follow on from the Tour of Beijing in October this year. More on that in a separate story.