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Lars Bak leads the Lotto Belisol Team
Decision due next week
Lotto-Belisol general manager Bill Olivier is confident that his team will gain entry to the WorldTour for 2013 and has said that the Belgian outfit has no contingency plan in place should it fail to do so.
Lotto-Belisol is one of four teams – along with Saxo-Tinkoff, FDJ and Argos-Shimano – vying for the final three WorldTour berths. A decision from the UCI’s licence commission is anticipated on Monday.
“We’re confident for the licence,” Oliver told La Dernière Heure. “We’ve just come back from a seminar at the UCI and we had some very good feedback.
“It’s other teams who should be worried. We finished 11th in the 2012 WorldTour and had many victories. And even with the departure of Gianni Meersman [to Omega Pharma-QuickStep], the UCI estimates that our sporting value has increased by 25 percent.
“Frankly, we’re not even thinking about not getting a licence. We haven’t thought of a plan B or a plan C if we didn’t get one. We deserve it and we’ve done everything to get it.”
Lotto-Belisol did not feature on the initial list of WorldTour applicants published by the UCI in early October, which Olivier said was due to a mistake in the paperwork. “Our small administrative error was sorted three or four days after the closing date and we’ve had the green light from the UCI on that point,” he said.
While Olivier says that administrative error has not affected his team’s chances of remaining in the WorldTour, it did open a legal loophole that permitted Gianni Meersman to rescind his contract and switch to Omega Pharma-QuickStep last month.
“Yes, that’s a real loss, Gianni had a role as a leader with us after settling well on our team,” Olivier said. “He received an offer that we couldn’t match.”