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The License Commission of the International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced that Team Sky has been awarded a four-year ProTour licence, while French outfit AG2R La Mondiale has had its license extended until the end of the 2012 season. The decision was made on Tuesday but released Friday.
Team Sky had already shown that it will be a major force in cycling when it announced its first sixteen riders, including current Tour of Britain leader Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas Lövkvist, and Simon Gerrans. While more signings are yet to be announced, a ProTour license will guarantee the team's participation in races such as the Tour de Suisse, Tour of Flanders, San Sebastien and the Tour of Romandy. However, the license does not automatically guarantee a place in the Tour de France since the organizer, ASO, controls the invitations.
Speaking to Cyclingnews, UCI President Pat McQuaid gave reasons explaining why Sky was successful in its application. "A lot was considered, and we looked at the ethics of the team as well as the financial and admin side of things. Of course, the quality of the riders was also important."
Team RadioShack has also applied for a new ProTour license, while Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Lampre-NGC and Milram have requested renewals.
Also on Friday, the UCI announced that it had granted ProTour licenses to the Grands Prix of Quebec and Montreal for four years (2010-2013).
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