Europcar denied WorldTour licence over budget shortfall

The UCI today announced its decision to deny Europcar a WorldTour licence for the 2015 season, citing financial shortfalls within the team's budget.

“Concerning Europcar, the Licence Commission has decided to reject the team’s request for registration for the 2015 season,” The UCI said in a statement released today. “The Licence Commission estimates that the team does not fulfill the financial criteria."

The statement was part of a full report from the Licence Commission, which considered applications for WorldTour and Professional Continental licences from several teams. 

It decided to grant Astana a WorldTour bid, despite its recent spate of doping cases, albeit with several conditions including an independent audit and adherence to the proposed operational requirements for the 2017 WorldTour reform.

The exclusion from the sport's top tier will be a big blow for the Europcar team, which is seeking a new title sponsor after the car rental company. Jean-René Bernaudeau's team was informed in October that 2015 would be the end of Europcar's sponsorship. The UCI can, however, keep the team on in the second division.

"The UCI will be able to evaluate the possibility of registering the team as a UCI Professional Continental Team," the report stated. "In accordance with the UCI Regulations, the registration refusal leads to the withdrawal of the UCI WorldTour Licence.”

UCI president Brian Cookson said Europcar's situation "is of course regrettable ... but I very much hope that they can continue as a Professional Continental Team."

Like Astana, the Yellow Fluo squad, this year known as Neri Sottoli, was given Pro Continental status despite the EPO positive of Matteo Rabottini and the team's suspension by the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC). It will be registered "on the condition that team undergoes stringent controls by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation and the UCI to verify the team’s implementation of its announced anti-doping measures".

Cult Energy, which recently parted with manager Christian Weyland and is looking for a second sponsor, was given until December 15 to amend its application for a Pro Continental licence.

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