The International Cycling Union (UCI) Licence Commission has granted wild cards to 15 Professional Continental Teams for the 2008 season. Teams with a wild card status are entitled to be invited to compete in races on the UCI ProTour calendar. Wild cards – initially slated to be only 12 – were given to teams based on quality criteria: "technical (history of strong performances by team and riders), legal (observance of the rules), administrative (rigorous management and transparency) and ethical (especially anti-doping management and procedures)," according to a UCI press release.
The teams are Elk Haus-Simplon (Aut), Team Volksbank (Aut), Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen (Bel), Andalucía-Cajasur (Spa), Karpin Galicia (Spa), Agritubel (Fra), Barloworld (GBr), CSF Group Navigare (Irl), Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo (Ita), Tinkoff Credit Systems (Ita), Skil-Shimano (Ned), BMC Racing Team (USA), Slipstream Chipotle - H30 (USA) and Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli (Ven). No decision was made regarding the Mitsubishi-Jartazi (Est), "the Licence Commission is awaiting further information."
Teams with a wild card are obliged to participate in the biological passport programme (which includes making a financial contribution and agreeing to provide athletes' whereabouts).
"Wild cards were introduced in response to requests made by organisers, teams and riders, who, along with the UCI, wanted all participants in races on the UCI ProTour calendar to be held to the same obligations, particularly from an ethical standpoint, with a view to guaranteeing equality of treatment for all teams."