More ProTour licences renewed
The UCI ProTour Licenses Commission has announced that Russian outfit Katusha will be the newest ProTour team in 2009, having granted it a three-year licence beginning next year.
Katusha has become the first Russian team to secure ProTour status, the result of heavy investment and recruitment over the last 12 months. Similarly to the Astana outfit, which also rides under a ProTour licence, Katusha will be sponsored by national entities such as commodity companies ITERA, Gazprom and Rostehnology.
The ProTour Commission also announced that six teams would be continuing their involvement with the UCI's premier road series, extending the licences of French teams Cofidis (2009) and Française des Jeux (2009-2010), Belgium squads Quick Step (2009-2011) and Silence-Lotto (2009-2011), Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank - IT Factory (2009-2011) and Dutch mainstays Rabobank (2009-2012).
A decision is still pending on applications submitted by Euskaltel-Euskadi and Bouygues Telecom, both of which will be considered at a later date.
The Licences Commission also granted a four-year UCI ProTour licence (2009-2012) to Belgium's Gent-Wevelgem event, whilst licence requests for Belgian Spring Classic Tour of Flanders, Dutch Classic Amstel Gold Race and the Tour of Benelux will all be considered and an announcement made in the coming weeks.