There is one spot remaining in the WorldTour for 2013 with two teams vying for the final ProTeam licence. Saxo-Tinkoff and Argos-Shimano fell outside the top-15 for automatic qualification and are reportedly in the running for the last position. The next announcement from the UCI regarding ProTeam licence approvals is set for 26 November with the final list of WorldTour teams to be decided by mid December.
According to De Telegraaf the ProTeam licence renewals of Lotto Belisol and AG2R La Mondiale have been approved which reportedly leaves one spot open for Saxo-Tinkoff or Argos-Shimano. The team run by Bjarne Riis found itself outside the top-15 teams due to the ineligibility of Alberto Contador’s points while Argos-Shimano looks to guarantee a place in the grand tours by moving up from its current Professional Continental status.
"The last few days were Lotto-Belisol and AG2R who have already received a licence. Argos and Saxo are the two remaining parties for the last spot," reported De Telegraaf.
The UCI has stated that riders returning from doping violation will not contribute to their respective team’s points tally for two years. This has meant Saxo-Tinkoff drops significantly down the standings due to Contador accumulating the majority of the WorldTour results.
The complex points system used by the UCI to rank the teams is not fully understood however, the UCI has remained firm in its stance towards Riis’ team and the application of its rules. Riis attempted to refute the decision by first discussing it with the UCI and followed up by stating he would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). It appears however, to have done little to change the situation.
"The matter with Contador is not on the agenda, and there are no plans to change anything in relation to what we previously announced," UCI spokesperson Enrico Carpani had told tv2sport.dk.
"Just because the rule is discussed, it does not mean that the rule is changed. There are different opinions about it here, but the rule still applies."
The fate of Saxo-Tinkoff and Argos-Shimano should be known within the coming week. It would be a tremendous blow for Saxo-Tinkoff if they did not receive a ProTeam license while it would be a huge feat for Argos-Shimano if they stepped-up to a full-time position in the WorldTour.