WNT-Rotor have unveiled plans to apply to become a Women's WorldTeam, part of the UCI's new top division of women's cycling, in 2020. The German team, led by Lisa Brennauer and Kirsten Wild, have enjoyed a strong start to 2019 with seven wins, and hope to be one of five WorldTeams next season.
As part of plans announced last September, the UCI will introduce a tiered system of teams to women's cycling next season, much like the men's side of the sport. Five teams will form the top tier in 2020, with five more added in 2021 and 2022 until there are 15 in the top tier. One final team be admitted year-by-year via a challenge system.
In a team press release, the German team said that "we plan on being a part of the highest tier."
"We are convinced the new system will make female cycling more professional, and after having some positive meetings and discussions with UCI President David Lappartient and Morgan Gaultier, the women's cycling co-ordinator, it looks to be a well thought-out concept and we are hopeful of gaining Women's WorldTour status.
"The feeling at WNT Rotor Pro Cycling is that the sport, and especially women's cycling, is moving in the right direction and this is another step forward. We would relish the opportunity to be racing and representing women’s cycling at the top of an ever-changing future."
Team manager Claude Sun also commented on WNT-Rotor's application for WorldTeam status.
"I think the UCI, David Lappartient and Morgane Gaultier have done a great job, to make an effective change to women’s cycling, we will be registering our interest with excitement to be a part of the 5 WorlTour teams in 2020," he said.
WNT-Rotor trail only Mitchelton-Scott and Trek-Segafredo in the victory ranks in 2019, with two wins from the eight Women's WorldTour races so far. Clara Koppenburg kicked things off by winning a stage and the overall at the Setmana Ciclista Valencia, Wild won Women's WorldTour races Gent-Wevelgem and Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne as well as two stages at the Healthy Ageing Tour, while Brennauer also won a stage of the Dutch race.
Currently, there are 45 UCI-registered women's teams, but they aren't sorted into divisions as they are in the men's WorldTour, ProContinental and Continental ranks.
Under the present structure, the top 15 teams (according to the UCI World Ranking at the beginning of the year) are invited to compete in Women’s WorldTour events, though participation is not compulsory, as it is in the men’s WorldTour. That could change under the new reforms, however.
The change was one of several to women's cycling announced by the UCI as part of their Agenda 2022 plans, along with a minimum salary and a restructuring of the calendar.
WNT-Rotor is the second team to announce their application to the WorldTeam tier after Ale Cipollini announce Women's WorldTeam licence request for 2020.