The UCI (International Cycling Union) announced Monday that all current ProTour teams who will have their license expire at the end of this season are seeking renewal, and three additional teams have applied for the sport's top status for 2010.
A total of 21 teams are seeking ProTour status, which could lead to some squads being refused due to the UCI's agreement with Grand Tour organisers to limit the number of top tier teams.
"This is a situation that we are studying," McQuaid told Cyclingnews over the weekend. "What we are doing is raising the bar for ProTour teams. In doing so, one or two teams which are asking for licences to be renewed or to be granted for the first time will not meet the criteria. The rules state we can have up to 20 teams but, in continuing to raise the bar, it may mean that one or two teams may not get a licence."
Of the current 18 teams with ProTour status, five teams have licenses which run out at the end of 2009. AG2R La Mondiale, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Lampre NGC and Milram all are seeking renewal.
The Dutch Professional Contiental team Skil-Shimano has applied to step up to the next rung in 2010, as have new teams RadioShack and Team Sky (Great Britain).
The ProTour license requires teams to enter races on the ProTour calendar. In past years, the three Grand Tours were included on that list, but the split between the Grand Tour organisers and the UCI last year saw the teams forge a separate agreement with the race promoters which is good through 2010.
An agreement made between the UCI and the owners of the Tour de France in late 2008 ties the right to enter the Grand Tours to the UCI World Ranking, starting in 2011. This World Ranking combines the ProTour with the results of the Historical races.
The UCI's License Commission will begin making decisions on the applications in September.
Also see ourfull feature on the ProTour licensing issue.