The UCI has confirmed that they will allow 19 teams in the WorldTour this year. The news comes after Katusha won their case at Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), having previously been denied WorldTour status by the sport's governing body.
The UCI announces 18 WorldTour teams each season and this year their Independent Licence Commission rejected Katusha for "ethical reasons" in December. The team were handed a ProContinental status in January but pushed ahead with their appeal to CAS.
"The UCI today announced that exceptionally there are 19 registered UCI ProTeams in the 2013 season. The decision comes further to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling of 15 February 2013 which upheld the application of Katusha Management SA to be registered as a UCI ProTeam for the season 2013," the UCI said in a press release.
Last Friday, CAS upheld Team Katusha's appeal of the UCI's decision not to issue the Russian team a WorldTour licence, stating, “According to the CAS decision, the application of Katusha Management SA to be registered as a UCI ProTeam for the season 2013 of the UCI World Tour is granted.”
The decision means that the UCI will not review the WorldTour status of teams in order to facilitate a rigid structure of 18 teams. However, this will place pressure on several races that have already chosen their line-ups. For example, RCS has already allocated wildcards to teams for the Giro d'Italia, and Katusha were not among those selected. Their WorldTour status means that the Giro will have to invite a 23rd team into the race or retract one of their wildcard entries, something they have already ruled out.