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Competition for ProTour places is fierce
Cervelo TestTeam opts to remain a Pro Continental team for 2011
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced the names of teams that have applied for a ProTour licence for 2011.
With ten teams already in possession of valid licences for next season, there are eight remaining free berths at the sport’s highest level. Fourteen teams have put themselves forward for consideration.
Of the fourteen, eight already have ProTour licences that expire at the end of this season. These include the Footon-Servetto team that will be sponsored by Geox, and Telefonica Movistar, who replaces Caisse d’Epargne as title sponsor of the Spanish-based team. The former Milram team has also applied for ProTour status under the name of its organising structure Velocity, although it still has to reveal if it has secured sponsorship for next season. Astana, Euskaltel-Euskadi, FDJ, Liquigas-Doimo and HTC-Columbia have also all applied to renew their expiring licences.
A further six teams that are not part of the 2010 ProTour in 2010 have submitted applications for 2011. Jean-René Bernaudeau confirmed last week that his BBox-Bouygues Telecom outfit had applied for ProTour status and fellow French squad Cofidis has followed suit. The BMC Racing team has applied for consideration, while Dutch squad Vacansoleil, who missed out on selection for all three major Tours in 2010, hopes to secure ProTour status for 2011.
Two new outfits have also submitted applications: the as-yet unnamed Luxembourg team, expected to feature the Schleck brothers, and Pegasus Sports, the organisation behind the Australian Fly V team. Regardless of the success of its application, Fly V's stated aim is to ride the 2011 Tour de France.
Cervelo TestTeam has elected not to apply and will continue as a Pro Continental team in 2011. The team aims to finish among the top seventeen ranked teams in the world this season and so guarantee its place in the three grand Tours next year. The team will again rely on the strength of its roster to garner invitations to the other ProTour races. Cervelo currently lies in 13th place in the world rankings.
The UCI has announced that it will examine the files submitted by the applicant teams during the month of November, stating that “excellent performance in sporting terms” is “the most important criterion.” The teams’ ethical records, finances and administration will also be considered before a provisional announcement of the list of teams to be awarded licences is made on November 20. The definitive list will be published on December 10.
The UCI also announced that it has received 28 applications from teams seeking registration as UCI Professional Continental Teams for 2011.
The ten teams that already have valid ProTour licences for 2011 are Ag2r-La Mondiale, Garmin-Transitions, Lampre-Farnese Vini, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Quick Step, Rabobank, Sky, Katusha, RadioShack and Saxo Bank.