UCI confirms WorldTour and Pro Continental teams for 2019

Hagens Berman Axeon, Rally UHC Cycling among 25 Pro Continental teams

The UCI has confirmed there will be 18 teams in the men's WorldTour in 2019, with 25 teams registered at the Professional Continental level.

The 18 WorldTour teams are the same structures as those in the 2018 WorldTour, with the UCI confirming title sponsors and team nationality.

Jim Ochowicz's team will officially be known as CCC Team after the Polish shoe brand took over title sponsorship from BMC. Deceuninck is the new title sponsor for Patrick Lefevere's Quick-Step squad. LottoNL-Jumbo will be known as Team Jumbo-Visma, with the Dutch team confirming the arrival of the Norwegian IT company Visma as second sponsor just after the UCI announced the team had a place in the 2019 WorldTour.

Far more significant changes in the WorldTour and Professional Continental teams are expected for the 2020 season, when the UCI will award new three-year licences for the 18 WorldTour places. Several current Professional Continental teams have already confirmed they hope to step up a level in 2020 but will need to score ranking points during the 2019 season and sign big-name riders to secure a place in the 2020 WorldTour.

The UCI checked the teams registration requests, rider rosters and budgets under the ethical, financial, administrative and organisational criteria. Only UAE Team Emirates needed further checks and a final confirmation from the UCI's Licence Committee for a place in the WorldTour, while seven Professional Continental teams, including the Israel Cycling Academy, faced extra scrutiny. All were eventually given places in the 2019 peloton.

Five teams have dropped out of cycling's second division, with three new teams stepping up, including Corendon-Circus as they hope to secure invites to the major Spring Classics for team leader and cyclo-cross star Mathieu van der Poel.

Other new teams stepping up to Professional Continental level include the Riwal Readynez cycling team from Denmark and W52/FC Port from Portugal. The Roompot and Veranda's Willems teams have merged to become Roompot-Charles, while CCC Sprandi has merged with Ochowicz to step up to the WorldTour level.

The Aqua Blue team have folded  after funding issues during the final months of the 2018 season. US-based UnitedHealthcare failed to find a new sponsor after the healthcare giant opted to only sponsor one of the two teams it supported, Rally.

The Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia squad has been registered as Tharcor, the name of the Irish-registered management company.

US-registered Hagens Berman Axeon, Rally UHC Cycling and Team Novo Nordisk all secured places in the Professional Continental ranks.

2019 UCI WorldTour teams:

AG2R La Mondiale
Astana Pro Team
Bahrain-Merida
CCC Team
Bora-Hansgrohe
Deceuninck-Quick-Step
Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
Groupama-FDJ
Lotto Soudal
Mitchelton-Scott
Movistar Team
Team Dimension Data
Team Katusha-Alpecin
Team Jumbo-Visma
Team Sky
Team Sunweb
Trek-Segafredo
UAE Team Emirates

2019 Professional Continental teams:

Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
Bardiani CSF
Burgos BH
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
Cofidis, Solutions Credits
Corendon-Circus
Delko Marseille Provence
Direct Energie
Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
Gazprom-Rusvelo
Hagens Berman Axeon
Israel Cycling Academy
Manzana Postobon Team
Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè
Rally UHC Cycling
Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
Roompot-Charles
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
Team Arkea-Samsic
Team Novo Nordisk
Tharcor (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia 2018)
Vital Concept-B&B Hotels
W52-FC Porto
Wallonie-Brussels
Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team 

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