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The UCI has confirmed the identities of sixteen teams which will have WorldTour licences in 2015, stating that IAM Cycling has satisfied the requirements to move up from the Pro Continental level and that two current WT teams, Astana and Europcar, must await the outcome of an ongoing review by the Licence Commission.
Astana has been under scrutiny since two of its riders, Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy, tested positive for EPO in August.
In addition to that, three riders from the Astana Continental team have tested positive for anabolic androgenic steroids since August. These are Kazakhstan’s national champion Ilya Davidenok, who has been racing as a stagiaire with the WorldTour team, plus Artur Fedosseyev and Victor Okishev.
The Licence Commission is deciding whether or not the WorldTour team should retain its licence. It is also looking into the Europcar team, which admitted in recent days that it had a budget shortfall and might have to accept racing at Pro Continental level in 2015.
A final decision will be due by December 10 at the latest.
Aside from the new addition IAM Cycling, seven teams were confirmed on Thursday as having their WorldTour licences renewed. These are the BMC Racing Team, Etixx-QuickStep, FDJ, Cannondale-Garmin, Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, Tinkoff Saxo and Trek Factory racing.
They join eight other teams who already had ongoing WorldTour licences and simply needed a green light to continue in that division, namely Ag2r La Mondiale, Lampre-Merida, Lotto Soudal, Movistar, Orica GreenEdge, Giant-Alpecin, Katusha and Sky.
A final decision in relation to Astana and Europcar is due by December 10th at the latest. Ditto for a pending decision by the Licence Commission about two would-be Pro Continental teams, namely Cult Energy Pro Cycling and Yellow Fluo (racing as Neri Sottoli).
The first recently announced that an expected co-sponsor deal would not happen, putting it under financial pressure, while the second had two positive tests for EPO in 2013 and one this year.
It is unclear whether the EPO results were the reason for the Licence Commission’s delay or if there are other factors such as a financial shortfall.
Seventeen teams were given Pro Continental licences in November, namely Androni Giocattoli (Italy), Bardiani CSF (Italy), Bora-Argon 18 (Germany), Bretagne-Seche Environnement (France), Caja Rural-Seguros Rga (Spain), CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Poland), Cofidis, Solutions Credits (France), Colombia (Colombia), Drapac Professional Cycling (Australia), MTN-Qhubeka (South Africa), Nippo-Vini Fantini (Italy), Team Roompot (Netherlands), Rusvelo (Russia), Team Novo Nordisk (USA), Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise (Belgium), Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team (USA) and Wanty-Groupe Gobert (Belgium).