CAS denies Katusha temporary WorldTour licence, still to fix date for team's main appeal

Russian outfit had requested temporary licence to let it race Tour de San Luis in Argentina

by Simon_MacMichael   January 11, 2013  

Katusha - Rodriguez, Ekimov and Menchov (source Katusha)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected a bid from Katusha to be granted temporary WorldTour status, which would have enabled it to participate in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, which starts on 21 January.

It’s the second blow in a week for the Russian team, which has also missed out on a wild card entry for May’s Giro d’Italia. Organisers of that race, RCS Sport, did however grant Katusha wild card entries to Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo and the Giro di Lombardia.

In a statement released on Wednesday, CAS said that it “has rejected a request for provisional measures filed by Katusha Management SA asking for the temporary registration of its professional team in the 2013 UCI ProTour."

It added: “The CAS will now consider the main appeal of Katusha Management SA which requests that the decision of the Licensing Commission of the UCI of 18 December 2012 concerning Katusha be annulled and that Katusha be admitted to the UCI ProTour for the entire 2013 season.

"A hearing will be scheduled shortly in order for a final decision to be issued as quickly as possible.”

With the UCI WorldTour season due to start in a little over a week’s time with the Santos Tour Down Under, time is pressing and Katusha’s star ride, world number one Joaquim Rodriguez, has reportedly attracted interest from a number of teams.

Argos Shimano and BMC Racing have both been strongly linked with the Spaniard, winner of the Flèche Wallonne and Giro di Lombardia and a podium finisher in both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta last year, although each has denied the rumours.

The refusal to award Katusha a WorldTour licence, which has resulted in it appealing to CAS, is reportedly due to its having failed to satisfy the UCI’s ethical criteria.

RusVelo, which like Katusha forms part of the Global Russian Cycling Project financed by UCI Management Committee member and energy billionaire Igor Makarov, was this week granted a UCI Professional Continental licence for the 2013 season after initially also being referred to the UCI’s Licence Commission.