Milram may need wildcard bid for major races in 2010

18th place in 2009 World ranking hurts German team

With the Milram team finishing eighteenth in the post-Giro di Lombardia world rankings, the team will have to rely on wild card invitations in order to ride events on the Historical Calendar next year.

UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf spoke to Cyclingnews recently on the new rules of participation and confirmed again today that the top seventeen teams will have automatic entry into the events in 2010. The races concerned are Paris-Nice, Tirreno Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro di Lombardia.

He also confirmed that new ProTour teams Sky and RadioShack will have to compete for wildcard invitations to all Historic Events. Their licence will however give them the right and obligation to compete in all ProTour events.

The Grand Tours will be the exception, and Milram is covered by the pre-existing agreement between the organisers of those events lasting until the start of 2011. Sky and RadioShack are not part of that accord, and would need wildcard bids for the Grand Tours.

Milram has a one-year ProTour licence and while it will gain entry to the ProTour races plus the Grand Tours, it will need an invitation to ride the events listed above. It has 182 points, 24 less than 17th-ranked AG2R La Mondiale.

Team general manager Gerry Van Gerwen said that there is a lot of uncertainty around the new system and said that he is unconvinced it will be in place for 2010.

"We have heard nothing and we can't find any mention of these regulations on the UCI website," he told Cyclingnews today. "There is a lot of uncertainty – do the points count from this moment in time, or will the changing rankings during 2010 affect the teams that will get into the next races? Nothing has been confirmed yet and I think it could be 2011 before this all happens."

Rumpf states otherwise, saying that the new system will be in place next season. "As it stands now, the system that I outlined before [to Cyclingnews] will stand, unless the rules are changed," he said. "The rules as of today are as explained before. The top seventeen teams are taken now, at the end of the 2009 World calendar, and those will gain entry to the Historic Events throughout 2010."

Positive cases could affect ranking

Gerwen emphasised that the standings today could potentially still change. "The list is not final – there are some riders such as Davide Rebellin who could end up losing points, and this will change the Diquigiovanni team's position in that list," he said. "And maybe more cases are coming [on other teams] – who knows? That would also affect the totals."

Rebellin finished second in the Olympic Games last year but then returned a positive A sample for CERA. The B sample analysis is yet to be completed.

Rumpf confirmed Gerwen's point that this could affect the standings. "If he is fired from Diquigiovanni then he will disappear from the rankings [for that team]," he said. "And if the final decision on his case mentions that his 2009 results must be cancelled, then he will obviously also lose his [individual] points. But for the moment none of these conditions have been met, so he is obviously still in the rankings."

However even if he is fired, that wouldn't be enough for Milram; Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni's points would go from 379 to 185, three more than the German ProTour team.

Van Gerwen clearly wants to be in all the big races next year, and argues that his team deserves a place in the top events. "There are other considerations apart from just results," he said. "Points such as media value and ethics are things that we have to consider. I think that there are very, very important factors."

UCI World Rankings - Teams
2Caisse d'Epargne1048 
3Team Columbia - HTC957 
4Team Saxo Bank946 
7Cervelo Test Team804 
8Quick Step760 
10Team Katusha637 
11Garmin - Slipstream632 
12Euskaltel - Euskadi631 
13Lampre - N.G.C465 
14Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli379 
15Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo249 
16Française Des Jeux238 
17Ag2R La Mondiale206 
18Team Milram182 
19Bbox Bouygues Telecom170 
20Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne166 
21Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team158 
22Xacobeo Galicia128 
24Lpr Brakes Farnese Vini102 
27Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce26 
29Andalucia Cajasur21 
31Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator11 
32Landbouwkrediet - Colnago4 
33Bmc Racing Team4 
34ISD - Neri3 

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