A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
The new Saxo Bank Tinkoff team kit
UCI looked at strength of team and not just the numbers, team manager says
Team Saxo-Tinkoff's WorldTour licence for 2013 was up in the air for a while, but now the Danish team knows that it can tackle cycling at the highest level in the coming year. Alberto Contador can prepare for the Tour de France, and the team's many other talented riders can look to the challenges facing them.
Being assured that the team has the licence “feels good. It is nice, a relief,” team managing director Trey Greenwood told Cyclingnews Tuesday. “We're very happy and think it is the right decision.”
It had been rumoured that Saxo-Tinkoff and Argos-Shimano would battle it out for the final remaining 2013 WorldTour spot, but in a surprise move, the UCI announced on Monday evening that both teams would receive the top licences, whilst Katusha was denied.
Did Greenwood ever have doubts that things wouldn't work out? “Of course you have doubts. “But we went to the hearing and felt we had a strong case. We have good riders and brought in new good riders. All the other criteria were ok, it all comes down to the strength of the team.”
It was more than just number-crunching involved in the UCI's decision, as the team would not have qualified under the points system.
“Fortunately for us they look at the roster. If it was just mathematics, we wouldn't be here, since they didn't count Alberto's points.”
One of the team's top aims for 2013 will be leading Contador to the top step of the podium in Paris at the end of the Tour de France, but “the team is not just Alberto.”
“We feel we have a lot of other guys who can win races. Bjarne [Riis] put together an excellent team with the budget he has, he is a genius at that.”
For example, Greenwood told Cyclingnews, “we have Matti Breschel back for the Classics, and excellent riders for all things.”
In putting together the 2013 squad, “we have made a lot of good decisions and have a lot of good people. We saw that at our training camp.”
He summed up that receiving the licence despite the lack of points “is proof for Bjarne that he made the right decisions.”