The International Cycling Union (UCI) today issued a statement ranking the top teams in its five continental circuits, and clarified that it will require race promoters in each circuit to invite the top three teams.
Much like the scheme used to select the ProTeams, the Continental "fictitious" ranking is based upon the performance of riders in each team during the past season (2009-2010 - the Continental circuits outside Europe span two calendar years).
With the pronouncement that "all the non-European races (classes HC, 1 and 2) on the UCI Continental Circuits will be obliged, in accordance with article 2.1.007 bis of the UCI Regulations, to invite the three best teams from their continent", this could mean that three Colombian teams must be invited to the 2.HC Amgen Tour of California as well as the UCI 2.1 ranked Tour of Utah and Quiznos Pro Challenge.
The UCI placed Colombian Movistar, Gobernacion De Antioquia – Indeportes Antiquia and EPM-UNE atop the rankings for the Americas Tour, which it considers the "true reflection of the sporting value of the 2011 UCI Continental Teams".
The Movistar team is the Continental counterpart to the ProTeams squad, and contains the number three and number four-ranked riders in the 2010 Americas Tour, José Alarcon and Oscar Soliz.
Gobernacion De Antioquia – Indeportes Antiquia is the team of the second ranked rider, Arnold Alcolea, but also lists amongst its ranks Oscar Sevilla who has a pending doping case after evidence of Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES) was found in his doping control last year.
EPM-UNE finished as the third-ranked team in the 2010 Americas Tour rankings.
Amgen Tour of California organizer AEG was prepared to announce its list of invited teams in the coming week, and president Andrew Messick told Cyclingnews that he has not yet been informed by the UCI or USA Cycling of any new rule.
"We don't feel it is appropriate to comment on the issue at this time," said Messick.