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PARIS, Feb 18, 2013 (AFP) – Cycling’s World Tour will feature 19 teams this season, instead of 18, after Russian cycling team Katusha won their appeal to be reinstated, the sport’s world governing body UCI announced on Monday.
“Exceptionally there are 19 registered UCI ProTeams in the 2013 season,” a UCI statement read.
“The decision comes further to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling of 15 February 2013 which upheld the application of Katusha Management SA to be registered as a UCI ProTeam for the season 2013.”
Katusha won its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after being excluded from the circuit in December, leaving them at the mercy of the organisers of the major Tours as to whether they are invited to compete or not.
The CAS initially upheld the ruling in January but overturned that decision on appeal on Friday.
The controversial team, who count 2012 World Tour champion Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain and Russia’s Denis Menchov in their ranks, is run by Russia’s Viacheslav Ekimov, a former team-mate of the disgraced rider Lance Armstrong.
In November the Association of Race Organisers warned it would only consider handing out invitations to teams which had signed up to the anti-doping charter – the Movement for Credible Cycling.
Katusha had been refused a wildcard entry to this year’s Giro d’Italia as they had not signed up for the Movement, but they have since done so as a probationary member.