The UCI announced today that it has refused to register the Australian team Pegasus Sports as a Professional Continental team. It also stated that it has now closed the registration for the first and second division teams.
The announcement did not rule out the possibility that Pegasus Sports could be registered as a Continental team.
“We are shocked that the license was denied,” stated Chris White, Pegasus Sports CEO. “The team was already prepared for the 2011 season and we worked really hard after the news from last week. Significant cost reductions were made and additional sponsorship both from within our existing sponsor base and an external group was gathered, in order to stabilise the team financially in the short term. The people within the organisation were at the centre of this action and commitment, which is a real testament to the mate-ship within the team. We do not want to give up. The team is exploring whether there are other options for next year.”
Pegasus Sports signed a number of big name riders, most notably sprinters Robbie McEwen and Robert Hunter, and had been seeking a ProTeam license.
It lost a major financial backer earlier this month, and scrambled to meet the UCI's deadline for a revised application.
The management - who had told Cyclingnews that they had found a backer last week - have only been notified that the application has been refused and that reasons will be given in the coming days.
“I know nothing more than what’s been announced. In the official communication to the team it was said that the reasons why they had been refused would be communicated within a few days. All they have for now is the decision," said Enrico Carpani from the UCI.
The decision could see a raft of riders leave the team even if they reach Continental level. However according to Carpani the riders were free to find new squads as early as October.
"The riders are free to sign for other teams. They were already free from the beginning of October when we published a list of the teams who had completed the UCI application. That was done in order to give the riders the chance to find another squad. The Pegasus riders were therefore theoretically free to change teams then," he said.
More on the story as it unfolds.