The UCI is expected to finally name the WorldTour teams registered for the 2015 season in early December after the completion of the audit of teams' finances, rider contracts and ethics.
A spokesperson for the UCI told Cyclingnews that the teams will be officially confirmed between Monday, December 8, and Wednesday, December 10. The UCI is also expected to name the Professional Continental teams registered for 2015.
Last year the UCI confirmed the registration of nine WorldTour teams on November 6 but have held off from any partial announcement this year as its completes the drawn-out registration process. The 2015 racing season begins on January 20 with the Tour Down Under in Australia.
Cyclingnews understands the Astana team was questioned about its ethics and anti-doping procedures on November 6 after it emerged that Maxim and Valentin Iglinsky tested positive for EPO during the summer. Team manager Alexandre Vinokourov was questioned about the cases of doping by young riders in the Astana Continental team. Kazakhstan has promised to boost its fight against doping and Vinokourov has since indefinitely suspended the activities of the Astana Continental team. Despite the doping scandals, Vinokourov and the Astana riders expect the team will secure WorldTour registration for 2015.
17 teams initially requested WorldTour status for 2015 with IAM Cycling deciding to beef up its initial Professional Continental licence application and step up to WorldTour level. It seems that the IAM Cycling application has gone smoothly and the Swiss team is almost certain to be part of the WorldTour in 2015.
IAM Cycling will replace the Italian-managed Cannondale team that has folded following Cannondale's decision to join forces with Slipstream sports, which this year managed the Garmin-Sharp team.
The 18 teams expected to compete in the 2015 WorldTour are Ag2r-La Mondiale, Astana, Lampre-Merida, Lotto Soudal, Movistar, Orica-GreenEdge, Europcar, Giant-Alpecin, IAM Cycling, Katusha, Sky, BMC Racing, Cannondale, Etixx-Quick Step, FDJ, Lotto NL, Tinkoff-Saxo, and Trek Factory Racing.