The Corendon-Circus team of Mathieu van der Poel has kept to its promise to seek Professional Continental status for 2019 in order for the Dutch star to compete in the road Classics season. The UCI released the list of 22 teams seeking second division licences for 2019, as well as confirming that all 18 WorldTour teams have applied to remain in the top tier.
Van der Poel renewed his contract with Corendon-Circus through the 2020 season, aiming to continue to combine cyclo-cross, road and mountain biking with an eye on competing in the cross country race at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. After dominating in the 'cross circuit last season, sweeping the World Cup, Superpresige and DVV Trofee series, Van der Poel went on to win the Boucles de la Mayenne and Ronde van Limburg before winning the Dutch road race championship and two stages of the Arctic Race of Norway.
In between, Van der Poel won the Dutch mountain bike cross country title and finished second in the world championships XC race.
His 'cross rival Wout Van Aert, already on a Pro Continental team, showed his prowess in the road Classics this season, finishing on the podium in Strade Bianche and ending the Tour of Flanders in the top 10. However, Van der Poel's team was not allowed into the WorldTour-ranked events due to their Continental status. His future road ambitions are contingent upon his team's moving up into the second division.
There was a second new entry in list of Pro Continental applicants - the Danish Riwal squad, but the overall number of second division applicants was down from 27 in 2018 to 22.
Due to sponsorship woes, the UnitedHealthcare and Holowesko-Citadel teams did not re-apply, while Aqua Blue Sport folded following failed attempts to form a merger with Verandas Willems-Crelan. That team in turn merged with Roompot, that has applied to the second division as Roompot-Charles. The CCC Sprandi Polkowice team merged with BMC Racing Team and moved into the WorldTour. Only Manzana Postobon and Burgos BH were missing from the UCI's list.
Most of the other teams have remained the same, with Nippo-Vini Fantini's third title sponsor Europa Ovini being replaced for 2019 by a new title sponsor, Faizané, business to business plastics specialists. LottoNL announced in March that it would cease sponsoring the WorldTour team, with Jumbo taking over full title sponsorship.
The licence applications now move onto evaluation by an external financial auditor to ensure they meet UCI regulations. A final list of approved teams will be announced in December.
2019 WorldTour Team applicants:
AG2R La Mondiale
Astana Pro Team
EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
UAE Team Emirates
2019 UCI Professional Continental Team applicants:
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
Cofidis, Solutions Credits
Delko Marseille Provence KTM
Euskadi Basque Country
Hagens Berman Axeon
Israel Cycling Academy
Team Novo Nordisk
Vital Concept - B&B Hotels
Riwal Cycling Team