Astana’s licencing scrutiny ends as UCI names teams approved in first wave of WorldTour and Pro Continental licences

by Shane Stokes


Naming the teams who have been given a green light as WorldTour and Pro Continental teams for 2018, the UCI has listed a total of 28 squads as meeting the required standard.

Eleven of these are WorldTour, and comprise Ag2r La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, BMC Racing Team, FDJ, IAM Cycling, Movistar Team, Orica GreenEdge, Team Giant-Alpecin, Team LottoNL-Jumbo, Team Sky and Trek Factory Racing.

“It should be noted that all the above were already in possession of UCI WorldTour licence for 2016 but were nonetheless required to meet the annual registration criteria,” stated the UCI. “Seven other teams applying for a new UCI WorldTour licence will be heard by the Licence Commission in the coming weeks as part of the normal application process.”

One of those is MTN-Qhubeka, which will be titled Team Dimension Data in 2016. Its Principal Douglas Ryder confirmed to CyclingTips in recent days that it will meet the Licence Commission on Tuesday week, November 17.

UCI President Brian Cookson has told CyclingTips that he believes the team is the logical choice to fill the vacant slot in the WorldTour, although he points out that the Licence Commission will make the decision. It will assess the team based on various requirements.

Today’s announcement saw the Astana team given a green light. It had a nervous wait earlier this season after a number of doping positives spread across its WorldTour and Continental teams. It was ultimately given a licence but told it would face another assessment.

That has now concluded and the team can continue as a top-ranked squad.

“With regards to Astana Pro Team, the Licence Commission has rendered its decision after the team’s four- month review period during which it was monitored by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL),” stated the UCI.

“After reading the conclusions of ISSUL’s report, the Commission has found that the team complied with the measures required of it.”

Six teams applying for ProContinental licences have been initially turned down. Their files have been referred to the Licence Commission in accordance with article 2.16.017. That article lays out the procedure for the assessment, and states that the decision is final and cannot be appealed.

The teams declined at this point are Bardiani-CSF, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Cult Energy-Stolting Group, Direct Energie, Roth-Skoda and Tharcor.

Those accepted at this stage are Androni Giocattoli, Bora – Argon 18, Caja Rural – Seguros RGA, Cofidis, Solutions Credits, Delko Marseille Provence KTM Drapac Professional Cycling, Fortuneo – Vital Concept, Funvic Soul Cycles – Carrefour, Nippo – Vini Fantini, One Pro Cycling, Roompot Oranje Peloton, Rusvelo, Team Novo Nordisk, Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise. UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team, Verva Activejet Pro Cycling Team and Wanty – Groupe Gobert.

The Licence Commission’s decisions relating to Dimension Data and the six provisionally declined Pro Continental squads will be communicated during November and December.

Also see: Dimension Data gets its date in front of UCI Licence Commission; Cookson feels team is logical choice for WorldTour place

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