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

by Tony Farrelly   February 10, 2012  

UCI logo on white

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.

10 user comments

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I thought this might come about as Bertie was a big points scorer

But, it will only get more complicated if they strip the license and Bertie appeals against the ban, I don't know how it works, but while appealing, does it work like other sports where you can still compete while the appeal goes through?

If this is the case, Bertie's points would still be vaild under an appeal, so they could not take the license and then surely once the team has raced a few races, they wouldn't go and strip them?

The other thing being, most if not all other teams are full and can't sign riders, so it would leave a whole team unemployed?? OR could they drop down to Conti level with a Conti team going Pro? Thinking Thinking

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8853 posts]
10th February 2012 - 19:17

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I think it's a must that they continue to ride whilst any appeal goes through.

They have signed riders expecting to ride the grand tours etc etc and if they have that removed there will be law suits flying left right and centre which wont look good for the UCI.

Also if Bertie wins any appeal what happens then if the UCI have stripped away the licence and it's proved he was ok. Again a major headache for all concerned so i think the sensible thing to do is to leave it at the status quo and then at the end of the year review what points they have and make a decision about a licence then.

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2750 posts]
10th February 2012 - 19:26

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if it was one of the *ahem* lesser teams, say, Cofidis or Europcar, would this conversation even have started???
thought not.

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [188 posts]
10th February 2012 - 21:11

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This would never have been a problem if they got it together to have heard this matter within a reasonable timeframe.

SteveAustin's picture

posted by SteveAustin [34 posts]
11th February 2012 - 9:59

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He'll struggle to appeal the ban. CAS decisions can only be appealed on procedure issues and on whether or not they had the right to make the decision - not on the facts. His ban will stand in the meantime - it's the last decision which stands (so when the RFEC cleared him, that stood, but now the ban would stand until any successful appeal). The UCI will e pretty comfortae that Contador is out until August, and in any event it doesn't make any difference - Saxo fired him, so they can't claim his points!

posted by step-hent [681 posts]
11th February 2012 - 10:45

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That we are even discussing whether or not SaxoBank may lose their racing permit for a situation which has never been under their control is not only a travesty, but it is a sure sign that the system is broken and needs to be repaired. SaxoBank didn't know that AC had a dirty pee in the bottle when they signed him, and they didn't know because the UCI told AC not to tell anyone, that they would "work it out." Is this mess the "working out" they had in mind? If the UCI now pulls Bjaarne's permit to race, SaxoBank the sponsor will have pissed away how many millions? Surely McQuaid isn't so freakin' fat that he can't see the writing on the wall? What sponsor in his good mind will spend millions of dollars/euros/pounds/dog bisquits on an ad campaign (which is all a bike racing team is to them) without any idea of what they are getting? I just refuse to believe the UCI is soo flippin' idiotic! I'm sorry for the rant, but mismanagement is threatening to ruin one of things I love most, and I can't shut up about it. Sorry again, and if this bothers you guys, I won't post any more like it.

posted by hammerhed [4 posts]
11th February 2012 - 12:13

1 Like

SaxoBank had plenty of time to sign new riders for this year, they knew Contador was under risk of a ban, they chose to ignore this.

While it's not fair on the other Saxo riders, it's not fair on the teams which didn't make pro tour status due to a cheat.

Chucking Saxo out of the Pro Tour will send a message to team managers to not sign dodgy cheats, which will help keep the sport clean.

posted by gearfreak [5 posts]
11th February 2012 - 14:44

4 Likes

Keep on posting hammerhed, I for one agree with you. The UCI and Pat McQuaid are bigger threats to the future of professional cycling than anything that Contador has (or hasn't) done. Professional cycling needs a new umbrella organisation so that is run in a transparent open manner for the good of the sport and not as a personal fiefdom of people like McQuaid. The anti doping organisations also need rationalisation with a unified open and most importantly scientific approach to testing. This means testing that can be repeated and performed by multiple labs, not just by one lab that claims to be able to measure lower values than the others. Then if you test positive above a rational limit and your second sample tests positive in another lab no appeal is needed or required and the sport has lost another doper.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
11th February 2012 - 15:58

2 Likes

+1 hammerhed, when Europcar didn't get an automatic worldtour place I was bothered about the perception of the marketing chaps at the sponsor (a nice global brand from outside the sport spending all that cash, generating two French national heroes in the tour, and threatened with division 2?!), so now, yes, if I was a marketing director at saxo, I'd be having a squeaky-bum time with 2012-2014 budget planning.

Another potential consequence of this is that riders merely accused of (rather than found guilty and banned for) doping may simply be dropped like a hot potato. No support, no innocent until proven guilty, just 'get out of those team colours before the shit rolls down to the team'.

Then again, if a knob like sepp blatter can hang onto something as big as world football, why should we think mcquid (mis-spelling not accidental) will lose the helm of bike racing?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3187 posts]
11th February 2012 - 18:02

3 Likes

gearfreak wrote:
SaxoBank had plenty of time to sign new riders for this year, they knew Contador was under risk of a ban, they chose to ignore this.

While it's not fair on the other Saxo riders, it's not fair on the teams which didn't make pro tour status due to a cheat.

Chucking Saxo out of the Pro Tour will send a message to team managers to not sign dodgy cheats, which will help keep the sport clean.

I believe Bertie was not found guilty of cheating, only of having a banned substance in his system and then a tiny amount. Along with most of the top cyclists i dont believe he cheated. Angry

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2750 posts]
11th February 2012 - 20:56

3 Likes