Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank team close to missing out on 2013 WorldTour licence

Danish team still might not make it as six teams battle for five places

by Simon_MacMichael   October 29, 2012  

Vuelta 2012 S21 Alberto Contador on his way to victory in Madrid (copyright Unipublic:Graham Watson)

Alberto Contador’s Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team seems to have come within a whisker of losing ProTeam status and with it an automatic invitation to cycling’s biggest races including the Tour de France.

In an update released this afternoon on the WorldTour registration process for the 2013 season, the UCI reveals that the Denmark-based team is ranked 20th by sporting value following the end of the 2012 season.

Had it been ranked any lower, the team, whose current licence expires this year, would have been ineligible to be considered for a WorldTour licence for the coming season and would have to have settled for Professional Continental status instead.

As things stand, it’s still by no means certain that it will secure renewal of the licence – at most there can be 18 teams holding WorldTour licences, and with 19 teams having applied for one for next season, someone is going to miss out.

The unlucky outfit is likely to be one of those ranked between 16th and 20th by sporting value, which is calculated by a formula known only to the UCI.

According to the governing body, the sporting value for the 2013 season takes account of contracts signed with the 12 leading riders for each team signed before 20 October 2012, and also includes results – not the same as WorldTour ranking points – accumulated in 2011 and 2012 by the all riders on the roster for the coming season. 

Some 13 teams – Astana, BMC Racing, Cannondale, FDJ, Katusha, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Belisol, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Orica-GreenEdge, RadioShack-Nissan, Sky and Vacansoleil-DCM – already have a WorldTour licence covering the 2013 season.

All of those bar Lotto-Belisol appear in the top 15 teams by sporting value as confirmed by the UCI today, making confirmation of their licence a formality assuming they also fulfil the ethical, financial and administrative requirements.

For reasons not revealed by the UCI, Lotto-Belisol missed the 1 October deadline to submit its paperwork – there’s nothing particularly unusual about that, one or more teams do so each year, but the team is one of those applying for renewal of an existing licence and is ranked 17th by sporting value, meaning its case needs to be considered by the UCI’s Licence Commission.

Three teams appearing in the top 15 by sporting value are applying for the renewal of their WorldTour licence.

Those are Euskaltel-Euskadi, Garmin-Sharp and the Former Rabobank team – the latter is due to race next season as a ‘white label’ team with the continued backing of the Dutch financial institution for one year in line with contractual obligations but it remains to be seen whether it will satisfy the UCI’s other criteria.

Besides Lotto-Belisol, which is 17th by sporting value, and Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, lying 20th, the other three teams occupying 16th to 20th places are Argos-Shimano (16th), FDJ (18th) and Europcar (19th).
Argos-Shimano, which raced under a Professional Continental licence in 2012, has applied for a WorldTour licence as it did 12 months ago, when it was unsuccessful because it was outside the top 20 by sporting value.

Fellow Professional Continental team Europcar has not applied for a WorldTour licence, while AG2R is applying for renewal of an existing one.

The UCI says that it will confirm registrations of ProTeams having a valid 2013 WorldTour licence and meeting the four criteria on or after 1 November, together with the registrations of teams that have applied for Professional Continental status and that have their paperwork in order.

Decisions of the UCI’s Licence Commission in respect of other teams at both levels will be communicated between 26 November and 10 December.

 

12 user comments

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I very much doubt they will fail to get a license this year. With Contador on the team, the UCI will squeeze them in somehow at the expense of another team, just because they cannot allow anything further to damage the sport.

The problem comes when the next investigations are concluded, Puerto in January with Contador being a "witness" along with Basso and many others.

Am I right in thinking there is also another investigation going on involving everyones favourite Dr Ferrari aswell??

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posted by Gkam84 [8668 posts]
30th October 2012 - 1:01

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UCI can't help fudging can they? bending rules in the interest of individuals, looks like they're heading for another inquest.

antonio

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posted by antonio [930 posts]
30th October 2012 - 9:44

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road.cc wrote:
The unlucky outfit...

Not sure it's unlucky when you spend all your budget on a convicted doper whose points don't count, and then fail to accrue enough points to make the grade.

But as has been said above, I can't see the UCI allowing Contador to be left out in the cold. And even if he is, organisers will still want him at races - so it may actually be better for Saxo to be Pro-Conti level, avoiding all the obligations of ProTour teams to compete in less desirable UCI races and cherry-picking the best ones with wild-card entries.

posted by step-hent [646 posts]
30th October 2012 - 10:29

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Couldn't Bertie make, ahem, a small donation to the UCI? I'd have thought around $100-125k should do it. Seems to be about the going rate.

posted by Sadly Biggins [263 posts]
30th October 2012 - 10:56

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I would rather see Europcar in than Saxo. They have a team intent on enjoying themselves with some damn good riders (not that Saxo dont) but i would rather see the likes of Rolland, Voeckler and Kern, to name just 3, giving it a go in the big races.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2662 posts]
30th October 2012 - 11:19

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Ah bugger cancel that. Just checked the Europcar site and this is stated:

Jean-Rene Bernaudeau has confirmed that Team Europcar will not apply for a ProTour licence for 2013. The Europcar manager also confirmed that Said Haddou and Rafaa Chtioui will leave the Vendee-based team in the off-season.

Damn, one of my fav teams. Crying

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2662 posts]
30th October 2012 - 11:21

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I'd like to see Argos given a chance - they've had some decent results this year and some exciting young riders in Kittel and Degenkolb

posted by chris75018 [94 posts]
30th October 2012 - 13:24

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Oof, that's a blow Stumps. I like watching them as well.

Then again, is their plan to go pro-conti but get wildcard entries to the GTs? Would be cheaper to run.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2922 posts]
30th October 2012 - 13:35

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I think when it comes to Grand Tour for Europcar, the Tour is pretty much the be all and end all.

They did apply for a wildcard place for the Giro last year - by all accounts sending a one-page fax when some other teams sent through video presentations showing why they should get the gig. Worth noting Europcar didn't even apply for a Milan-San Remo place.

WorldTour status is a bit of a double-edged sword - yes, it gives you entry to all those races, but also commits you to actually ride them, and there are more onerous requirements on ProTeams in terms of registration, guarantees etc.

Europcar's strategy seems to be to contain the costs and focus only on specific races, they're pretty much guaranteed a wild card on anything ASO runs I would imagine.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7891 posts]
30th October 2012 - 15:08

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Aye, their team is a bit thin on the ground with approx 24 riders. Difficult to fulfill a pro licence with such a small squad.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2662 posts]
30th October 2012 - 15:24

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In terms of bang for buck, I agree that Argos Shimano should be given a licence. Degenkolb and Kittel are very good riders and would expect to see them podium in some fairly big races. For me, there are too many question marks about Contador and his connection to doping. The UCI can ill afford another scandal and there is a possibility, however remote, he could be implicated in Puerto or the other one.
What really frustrates me though is that the UCI gets to make up a formula only they know to decide who qualifies for a pro tour licence. None of the teams know where they stand on how their positions have been decided. Therefore what's to stop them (UCI) changing their own formula to suit an outcome of their choosing?
Impartial and transparent? That's not the UCI way.

posted by petejuk [25 posts]
30th October 2012 - 23:55

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Just remember, Saxo is not all about Contador anymore

http://road.cc/content/forum/67036-transfers-2013-world-and-pro-continen...

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posted by Gkam84 [8668 posts]
31st October 2012 - 0:09

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