The Swiss IAM Cycling team is almost certain to be part of the UCI WorldTour in 2015, after agreeing to step up from its current Professional Continental status to ensure there are 18 teams in the 2015 WorldTour.
The UCI is currently completing the registration process for next season and IAM Cycling has confirmed to Cyclingnews that it is officially eligible for WorldTour status after beefing up its initial Professional Continental licence application for 2015. A spokesman for IAM Cycling told Cyclingnews that a final decision will not be made until the Licence Commission meets later in the month (November 19-21).
"We have had talks about it in the last few weeks and it is the UCI who will decide the music," the spokesman said.
The UCI is expected confirm the names of WorldTour and Professional Continental teams that have secured licences for 2015, that will not need to face the Licence Commission, as early as today. The announcement is expected to include a majority of teams. However the Astana team of Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali could face a grilling and a delay after the UCI formally asked the Licence Commission to undertake a full review of the management and anti-doping policies.
18 WorldTour teams
If all the teams are confirmed by the UCI Licence Commission, IAM Cycling will become the eighteenth WorldTour in the peloton in 2015, leaving just four places for Wild Card places for the Tour de France and other Grand Tours. IAM Cycling will replace the Italian-managed Cannondale team that has folded following Cannondale's decision to join forces with Slipstream sports that this year managed the Garmin-Sharp team.
IAM Cycling currently has a 23-rider team but will have to sign extra riders to reach the 26-rider minimum required for the WorldTour. The team will also need extra staff for the full programme of WorldTour races that begins with the Tour Down Under in Australia in January.
Current IAM Cycling team leaders include Sylvain Chavanel, new Hour Record holder Matthias Brändle, Classics rider Heinrich Haussler and Italian sprinter Matteo Pelucchi.
IAM cycling has so far signed Jerome Coppel (from Cofidis), Stef Clement (Belkin), Dries Devenyns (Giant-Shimano), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto-Belisol), Thomas Degand (Wanty-Gobert), plus young rider Clement Chevrier, Simon Pellaud, while Sondre Holst Enger of Norway will be a stagiaire with the team from next August.