The UCI announced today that its Licence Commission has allowed Saxo Bank to remain in the WorldTour, rejecting the UCI's request to withdraw its license which was granted before Alberto Contador was banned for two years and stripped of his 2011 results.
Saxo Bank was called to appear before the commission in February after Contador lost an appeal by the UCI to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on February 6 and was banned for a 2010 Tour de France doping positive.
Because Contador had accumulated more than two-thirds of the Saxo Bank team's points toward the license that was awarded on November 18, 2011 and he was stripped of those results with the CAS decision, the team no longer had sufficient sporting points to justify its place in the WorldTour.
While it acknowledged that Team Saxo Bank "does not reach UCI WorldTour level", the Licence Commission nonetheless ruled today "that the special circumstances of the case, including as outlined above, did not in themselves justify the withdrawal of the licence granted on 18 November", according to a UCI press release.
The team's licence expires at the end of this year, and it will be held to the usual standard of sporting criteria as well as ethical, financial and administrative factors in determining whether it will continue as a UCI ProTeam in 2013.
Saxo Bank owner Bjarne Riis was relieved and happy with the decision. "We very much think this is the right decision given the whole situation that caused the reevaluation of our license," Riis said.
"Now we very much look forward to putting all our energy, effort and focus back on running the team and racing again, and for the first time in more than one and a half year we are actually able to do so 100 percent," Bjarne Riis adds.
The UCI President Pat McQuaid commented, “UCI followed the correct procedure in accordance with the rules. The Licence Commission carried out its work and took its decision in an entirely independent manner and therefore we accept this ruling in a serene manner”.
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