News shorts: More Schleck rumours, Colombia team confident of Pro Continental licence

Schleck retirement rumours grow

Suspicions that Andy Schleck will announce his retirement from the sport at Thursday's press conference are growing, with the Luxembourg outlet L'Essential claiming that it has received confirmation of the news.

The press conference was announced this week by Trek, which re-signed Fränk Schleck, but had not yet done the same for Andy. The younger Schleck, who was declared the winner of the 2010 Tour de France after the disqualification of Alberto Contador for a doping positive, has struggled to achieve results on the bike since crashing in the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné and fracturing his hip.

This season he had ongoing trouble with his knee, and dropped out of the Tour after stage 3.

Neither the team nor the rider have confirmed what will be announced in the press conference tomorrow.

Colombia misses bank guarantee deadline

The UCI today released the list of squads which have applied for WorldTour and Professional Continental licences for 2015, and one team was conspicuously absent from the list: Team Colombia.

The squad led by Claudio Corti is, however, confident that they will be granted a Pro Continental licence once their required documentation is complete.

“Due to a bureaucratic delay, Team Colombia was not able to present on time the application file to be part of the UCI Pro Continental circuit for the 2015 season, and therefore could not be included in the list released by the UCI on October 8th," a team press release stated.

“The documents concerning the bank guarantee – required by UCI regulations – were not delivered from Colombia by the agreed deadline, making it impossible for the team to comply with the first deadline. Nevertheless, Team Colombia will submit the complete file to the UCI in the next few days, registering among the teams applying for a Pro Continental licence.”

“The Team is already working on the roster and race calendar for 2015, with confidence that all the conditions for the renewal of the Pro Continental licence will be fulfilled, as in the previous three seasons.”

Team Colombia is hoping to earn an invitation to the Tour de France next season, and would need the Pro Continental status to do so.

Lefevere suggests shorter Giro and Vuelta

After fellow WorldTour team owner Oleg Tinkov issued a challenge to the sport's other top riders to race all three Grand Tours against each other, with a €1 million incentive for each rider to do so, Omega Pharma-Quickstep boss Patrick Lefevere says he agrees with the concept, but that it would require a shorter Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.

"Indeed, sometimes you see the best riders avoiding racing against each other, that is regrettable," Lefevere said to Het Nieuwsblad. "But as the Grand Tours now are organized, it is not physically feasible for them to race all three. The Giro starts in early May, the Vuelta ends in mid-September, and in between is the Tour. Whoever races them all has 66 days of racing over about 120 days. The solution is to shorten the Vuelta and the Giro to 17 days, or in my opinion, 15 days."

As to the financial incentives offered by Mr. Tinkov, Lefevere was not impressed. 

"To say this to a journalist is one thing, but to pay is another. Do you remember how Tinkov promised Rafal Majka an Aston Martin if he won two stages in the Tour? Suddenly it was only a joke, and Majka had to be happy with a matchbox.

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