Team Geox, the new home of 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre, hopes to still have a chance at a first division ProTeam. On Friday, the team president reportedly received a telephone call from UCI’s president, Pat McQuaid, saying his team was excluded.
The UCI denied any telephone call. Its press officer, Enrico Carpani said that the teams would only be informed of their status on December 10, back from the early dates of November 20 and December 1.
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“There was no call from Pat McQuaid to team Geox-TMC,” Carpani told Italian website, Tuttobiciweb. The website originally reported the call.
“The licence commission is still working and only on December 10 will it give the definitive list of teams that will be in the first and second division.”
Britain’s team Sky and three other teams – Garmin-Cervélo, Rabobank and Omega Pharma-Lotto – were the only teams assured of a first division licence in a UCI press release on November 2. The UCI’s plan is to grant the first 15 teams in its sporting rankings a first division licence. The UCI’s licence commission will award the remaining licences to three of the five team’s ranked 16th through 20th: Euskaltel, Geox, Quick Step, Cofidis and AG2R.
The UCI calculated its rankings based off the results from 2009 and 2010 of the best 15 riders that the team has signed. Team Luxembourg topped the rankings by signing Andy and Fränk Schleck, and (still unofficial) Fabian Cancellara. Geox, which signed Sastre and Menchov, placed 17th.
“We have not received a call from Pat McQuaid,” said Geox General Manager Mauro Gianetti.
“I can only say that we are in the running for a licence. The dossier we presented is full of guarantees, both the sporting and the ethical elements are very important for us. We have Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov, winner of four Grand Tours, who have never had problems with doping.
“We are waiting to hear the UCI’s decision, but as far as we are concerned there was no rejection.”
There was also confusion in August. Gianetti reported that he reached an agreement for Geox to become a title sponsor, but a day later the footwear company from northeast Italy denied a deal was made. However, on August 11, Gianetti confirmed Geox as his new title sponsor.
The team is a continuation of the Saunier Duval team, 2004 to 2008. The doping positives of Leonardo Piepoli and Riccardo Riccò for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France forced Gianetti to lose his sponsor and re-structured the team at the end of the season.