The International Cycling Union (UCI) granted Team Mitsubishi-Jartazi 'wild card' status Friday but as long as the Estonia-licensed team does not select Frank Vandenbroucke, winner of the 1999 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The wild card status enables the team to be amongst the pool of Professional Continental teams that can be selected to ProTour races.
The 33 year-old Belgian has had a chequered past, including personal problems that led to attempted suicide last fall, but the issue for the UCI is his possession of banned substance – Erythropoietin (EPO) – in 2002 while riding for Domo-Farm Frites. He was suspended by the bicycle federation of Flanders in 2002 as a result.
"The team is naturally satisfied with the logical decision of the UCI, but really regrets the attitude towards Frank Vandenbroucke, who they granted a racing licence ultimately," read a team's press release. The team of Patrick Stallaert hopes to race the Ronde van Vlaanderen, but will have to do so without its star rider as the race is considered 'ProTour' status. Other key riders on the team include Dutchman Stefan Van Dijck and Belgian Geert Omloop.