Geox team manager Mauro Gianetti has told Cyclingnews he is still confident his team will secure a ProTeam licence for 2011 despite speculation the team has missed out.
Gianetti was stunned to read a story on the Italian Tuttobiciweb.it site suggesting that the UCI president Pat McQuaid had called the Geox team president Maurizio D’Angelo to tell him the bad news.
He denied any call was made and Cyclingnews understands any announcement by the UCI about ProTeams will only be made next week.
“There was no phone call, I don’t know where they got that from. It’s rubbish.” Gianetti told Cyclingnews. “We’re confident of securing a ProTeam place because we believe the arrival of a major new sponsor like Geox is hugely significant and important for cycling. We’ve built a strong team with two major grand tour leaders: Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov and think we deserve a ProTeam place.”
“It’s true we’re only ranked 17th in the UCI sporting criterion for 2011 but that’s because it’s based on results of 2009 and 2010. I don’t think it can be ignored that Sastre has won the Tour de France and Menchov won the Giro in 2009 and before that he twice won the Vuelta. We perhaps don’t have a lot of points but that’s because the team is built around them and the best domestiques work for their leaders and don’t focus on scoring points. We’ve also signed some really talent young riders who will emerge in the future. That shouldn’t be ignored.”
Cyclingnews spoke to the UCI. They denied that Pat McQuaid or any other member of staff contacted Geox and that the final decisions regarding licences would be made by December 10. They also stressed that the licence commission would be responsible for choosing which teams would be awarded licences.
Ethics a factor
Gianetti also believes ethics is a key factor in deciding ProTeam places. He was team manager at Saunier Duval when Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France but is proud of his new team leaders.
“Carlos Sastre is one of the few Tour de France winners never to be involved in a doping scandal. That’s significant and will hopefully be considered when it comes to the ProTeam slots,” he said.
“I know there is a lot of competition for places because Quick Step, Euskaltel, Cofidis and the other French teams all want places but we’re confident we’ll get one. It wouldn’t be nice if we missed out.”
The UCI has so-far awarded four ProTeam places for 2011 to Team Sky, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Garmin-Cervelo and Rabobank. 14 others are expected to be confirmed to create a total of 18 ProTeams for the 2011 season.