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Report: Team Alonso asks the UCI for WorldTour guarantees

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
May 20, 2014, 10:32 BST,
Updated:
May 20, 2014, 12:19 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso was on hand at the start of the elite men's world championship race

Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso was on hand at the start of the elite men's world championship race

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Formula 1 driver unhappy about licence application process

Team Alonso is not dead. At least not yet. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, a decision by the UCI in the next two weeks is expected to influence if the team is created for the 2015 season, delayed a year or if plans are scrapped all together.

Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso is still keen to create his own team but has apparently asked the UCI for special guarantees and concessions that go above and beyond the rules that apply to all the other teams that apply for a UCI WorldTour licence.

The Dubai government has reportedly signed a pre-contractual agreement to sponsor the team for 20 million Euro a year for five years and technical manager Paolo Bettini has established contacts with the five big-name riders that would be needed to secure the points to gain a WorldTour licence. However, Dubai and Alonso's people are not happy with the laborious application process the UCI has in place for WorldTour places. They feel it is wrong that a team has to guarantee its sponsorship and leading riders in August and then suffer months of uncertainty until the UCI confirms the WorldTour places in November.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Alonso's manager Luis Garcia Abad was in Aigle to meet the UCI on Monday to try to negotiate some kind of special treatment for Team Alonso. The meeting followed on from a conference call a month ago that was also attended by UCI President Brian Cookson.

The UCI initially refused to speak to Cyclingnews regarding Team Alonso, but later said that "we have been and are in touch with people involved in this project, welcome the interest and will of course work with them and others who wish to invest in cycling through our entry and approval processes."

A possible solution, which the UCI would be happy to accept, would be for Team Alonso to take over the WorldTour licence of one of several teams struggling to find sufficient sponsorship to guarantee their place in the WorldTour. Teams such as Giant-Shimano or Cannondale have been suggested as possible take-over targets.

However, Alonso has made it clear he wants to create its own structure from scratch rather take over another team. He failed to take over the Euskaltel team for similar reasons last year. Alonso wants to develop his own team and introduce technology and merchandising ideas from Formula 1.

Alonso is busy with the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend and focused on trying salvage the F1 season for Ferrari. The Giro d'Italia ends in Trieste on June 1 and so is a logical deadline for a final decision on the future of Team Alonso.

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