Three way scrap for final ProTour place

With a decision due soon on which teams will be awarded ProTour licences in 2007, three squads are...

Saiz licence depends on financial guarantees

With a decision due soon on which teams will be awarded ProTour licences in 2007, three squads are each hoping that they have done enough to secure the final place which is definitely up for grabs. Astana, and Barloworld have each applied for a licence and now have a nervous wait in order to see which one will be given the green light. Shane Stokes reports.

Cyclingnews spoke to UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf this week about the process and he clarified the state of affairs. "In accordance with our regulations, the teams had to finalise their financial file by November the 20th," he said. "Now it is up to the ProTour Council to make a decision based on this, something which will be done within a few days.

"One of the conditions to get or keep a license is to have the financial file in order. In the case that there is any problem, the information will then be transferred to the License Commission, who will act."

Rumpf gave a clear timetable as regards the various stages before the final announcement. “The license commission meets on November 28 to issue preliminary opinion on the definitive grant of licenses,” he stated. “Teams whose preliminary opinion is negative can be heard at the December 7 meeting and the commission will then make a final decision. The UCI will communicate [the result] after these decisions have been made.”

In all, three licences are up for renewal, while one is yet to be confirmed. T-Mobile and Caisse d'Epargne have already been granted a provisional licence and, according to Rumpf, they will be cleared to join the ProTour once again if their financial file is in order.

The third licence is that of the former Phonak team, which was originally planning to continue through 2007 and onwards via the backing of the iShares sponsor. However the positive test returned by Tour de France winner Floyd Landis led to the collapse of that arrangement and, with no replacement backer found, owner Andy Rihs was reluctantly forced to abandon hope of a new team.

It is this place that is now up for grabs. "The new Astana team - the one based in Switzerland - plus Team Barloworld and are going for the empty slot," confirmed Rumpf on Tuesday.

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