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Saxo Bank plays the waiting game on WorldTour licence

By:
Cycling News
Published:
February 29, 2012, 10:49 GMT,
Updated:
February 29, 2012, 10:49 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Observers offer mixed opinions on Danish team's chances

Bjarne Riis and Team Saxo Bank had their day before the UCI's licencing commission on Monday, and must now await the group's decision as to whether the team will retain its WorldTour licence.  Alberto Contador's suspension removes a majority of the points the team used for its 2012 licence.

“We had our hearing with the UCI's licensing committee, where we presented our case,” team spokesman Anders Damgaard told the Ritzau news agency. “We still feel that we have a really good case and we are waiting until the case is resolved.”

It is not known when the issue will be resolved. Both the chairman of the commission, Pierre Zappelli, and UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani refused to comment on the matter, according to sporten.dk.

Many Danish observers fear the worst for the team. “If your look at the rules in isolation, it pretty obviously dictates that the Team Saxo Bank may lose its license,” journalist and former pro cyclist Alex Pedersen told sporten.dk. “Therefore it is a more realistic scenario than the Danes might think.  Although one can certainly argue that it is far from reasonable now that the season is already underway.”

According to Eurosport commentator Thomas Bay, “It can go both ways. But there is a real danger that the team will lose its WorldTour licence and no longer automatically be able to participate in the Tour (de France).”

Fellow Dane Brian Holm, a sport director at Omega Pharma-Quick Step, hopes that his rival will keep its licence, saying it “is my impression” that Saxo Bank will do so. “I have not spoken to anyone who does not support Riis in this case,” he told ekstrabladet.dk.

“We are big enough competitors, but I still hope that he keeps his license. It would be a blow to Danish cycling if there was no longer a Danish team at the highest level.”

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