The UCI today announced the top 15 teams according to their assessment of the sporting criteria, and if they meet the UCI's other licencing criteria, they will automatically earn ProTeam status for the 2013 season and inclusion in the WorldTour. The sporting criteria takes into account each team's top 12 riders who've signed contracts by October 20, 2012 in addition to results obtained in 2011 and 2012 by riders which are included in the 2013 rosters.
Today's press release from the UCI listed in alphabetical order the top 15 teams, as well as a second list of teams ranked 16th through 20th. The teams on the latter list are vying for the final three WorldTour licences for the 2013 season.
Two teams which found themselves on the second list in 2011 regarding sporting criteria, AG2R La Mondiale and Euskaltel-Euskadi, have made the leap into the top 15 this season, while Lotto Belisol and Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff have dropped from automatic eligibility last season into the list of five teams still fighting for WorldTour status. After not making the top 20 list last year, Argos-Shimano remains in the hunt to jump from Pro Continental to WorldTour status for 2013, while current WorldTour team FDJ and Pro Continental squad Team Europcar find themselves in an identical situation as last year, in the bottom five but still eligible for WorldTour selection.
Despite Rabobank withdrawing sponsorship of its ProTeam, the squad, referred to in the UCI press release as "Former Rabobank", made the top 15.
The next step in the registration process for 2013 licences takes place following the November 1 deadline when the UCI will announce the registration of the UCI ProTeams with a valid 2013 UCI WorldTour licence which have met the four criteria (sporting, ethical, financial and administrative) plus the registration of the teams which have applied for UCI Professional Continental Team registration and whose file is in order.
The UCI Licence Commission will review applications of teams not mentioned following the November 1 deadline with the first decision of the Commission to be announced on November 26 followed by the final decision regarding WorldTour licences on December 10.
Teams in the top 15 by sporting value (alphabetical order)
AG2R La Mondiale
Astana Pro Team
BMC Racing Team
Euskaltel – Euskadi
Lampre – Merida
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team
Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team
Teams ranked 16th-20th (vying for final three WorldTour spots)
16. Team Argos – Shimano
17. Lotto Belisol
19. Team Europcar
20. Team Saxo – Tinkoff