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Announcing the final details of the squads that will compete at the Pro Continental level in 2016, the UCI confirmed Thursday that all four pending teams have been given a green light.
Approved are Bardiani-CSF and Southeast (which will be named Tharcor in 2016, plus CCC Sprandi Polkowice and the current Europcar, which will be titled Direct Energie from January.
All four had been passed over in the last wave of licence confirmations, but now can breathe a sigh of relief.
“We were confident about the UCI licence and this is why we already scheduled the first races of 2016 season,” said Roberto Reverberi, the Bardiani-CSF manager.
“We want to be competitive since the beginning, we don’t want to lose any chances of taking a good result. In Fiuggi [where it will hold a four-day training camp starting Sunday] we will decide the roster for Vuelta Valenciana and G.P. Costa degli Etruschi, as well as planning the biggest part of 2016 racing schedule.
“About our key events of the season, primarily the Giro d’Italia and the Classics, we are waiting for the decision of the organisers with confidence.”
It will make its season debut in the Vuelta Valenciana on February 3.
Direct Energie was in the news this week when French publication Ouest France said that it had missed out on the licence thus far due to money issues caused by a dispute with bike supplier Colnago.
The bike company was reportedly criticised prior to the Tour by the team’s star rider, Pierre Rolland. As a result of that, the company has apparently refused to pay its final instalment of cash to the team.
According to Ouest France, this cash shortage caused the team’s management company SA Vendée Cyclisme to draw on the bank guarantee lodged with the UCI in order to cover the riders’ salaries.
Team owner Jean-René Bernaudeau has reportedly taken Colnago to court in order to get the final payment, but a verdict won’t be announced until December 14. In the meantime, the UCI has given the team approval for next season, taking the pressure off.
A total of 23 Pro Continental teams will race in 2016, four more than this season.
There will also be 18 WorldTour teams.
The list of the Pro Continental squads is as follows:
Bora – Argon 18
Caja Rural – Seguros Rga
CCC Sprandi Polkowice
Cofidis, Solutions Credits
Cult Energy – Stölting Group
Delko Marseille Provence KTM
Drapac Professional Cycling
Fortuneo – Vital Concept
Funvic Soul Cycles – Carrefour
Nippo – Vini Fantini
One Pro Cycling
Roompot Oranje Peloton
Team Novo Nordisk
Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team
Verva Activejet Pro Cycling Team
Wanty – Groupe Gobert