The UCI today confirmed that 18 teams have applied to be in the 2017 WorldTour, with 16 returning and two new applicants for next season's top tier.
Under an agreement with the Tour de France organisers ASO, however, the UCI will only grant 17 licences for the next WorldTour season.
AG2R La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, BMC Racing Team, Cannondale-Drapac, Dimension Data, Etixx-Quick-Step, FDJ, Lotto Soudal, Movistar Team, Orica-BikeExchange, Team Sunweb (ex-Giant-Alpecin), Team Katusha, Team LottoNl-Jumbo, Team Sky, TJ Sport (ex-Lampre-Merida), and Trek-Segafredo are all hoping to return at the WorldTour level. Tinkoff Team and IAM Cycling stop at the end of this year.
New applications came from Vincenzo Nibali's new team, Bahrain-Merida, and outgoing World Champion Peter Sagan's new squad, Bora-Hansgrohe.
With such strong incoming competition, last-placed WorldTour team Dimension Data face an uphill battle to remain in the running despite having a strong roster behind Mark Cavendish.
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The UCI offered no explanation as to how the 17 WorldTour licences will be decided.
There were 17 teams listed as applying to renew their place in the Pro Continental ranks, with the soon-to-be-defunct Team Roth, and the WorldTour hopefuls Bora-Argon 18 missing, along with Polish team Verva-Activejet, Brazilians Funvic Soul Cycles, Stölting Service Group and Drapac (which merged with Cannondale).
New applications for the second tier have come from Ireland's Aqua Blue Sport, Colombia's Manzana Postobon and Belgium's Wallonie-Bruxelles. Israel's Cycling Academy, which stated its intent to apply for Pro Continental status, was also not listed.
The UCI list is published under rules 2.15.069 bis and 2.16.014 bis, and does not include teams that have failed to submit all of the required documents. The UCI will assess the list of applicants on November 1.