By Gregor Brown
Teams GreenEdge and RadioShack-Nissan are sorting through paperwork to ensure a place in the WorldTour next year. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) licence commission left them off a list of teams on Monday that will race in its first division next season.
The licence commission focuses on four criteria before accepting a team's WorldTour application: sporting, ethical, financial and administration. The fourth criterion, administration, is proving to be the hardest step for the two teams for logical reasons: GreenEdge is newly formed and RadioShack is merging with Leopard-Trek.
"It's just a couple of the administrative issues that we have to fix," GreenEdge's general manager, Shayne Bannan told Cycling Weekly. "We are in the process of doing that and hoping to have that done in the next couple of days. We started working on that last Thursday and we will meet again with the licence commission."
Bannan left his post as Cycling Australia's national performance director on December 30 to start GreenEdge. The Australian team's funding comes from several partners, including one of Australia's wealthiest men, Gerry Ryan.
Luxembourg's Leopard-Trek was less than one year into its WorldTour debut and already possessed a licence through 2014 when it announced in September that it would merge with RadioShack. It takes on the American team's sponsor and name for next season.
"The decisions concerning the teams will be announced later," the UCI said in a statement, "the commission is currently waiting for the teams to provide additional documents."
"It's administration, that's all," the team's press officer, Philippe Maertens told Cycling Weekly. "Two teams are coming together, each with its own structure, it's harder than you'd expect, but there are no fundamental problems. Johan [Bruyneel] already gave all the documents, but the UCI still needs time to look at it. It's just a matter of commas and periods, we are not worried."
Johan Bruyneel continues in his role as RadioShack's general manager, replacing Leopard's Brian Nygaard.
HTC-Highroad leaves the sport this year after team owner, Bob Stapleton failed to secure a replacement sponsor for mobile telephone company, HTC. Other teams, including Euskaltel-Euskadi, Saxo Bank and Liquigas, do no have sponsors secured for 2013. It appears that the UCI wants to ensure that the teams admitted into its top league are as secure as possible.
"We understand," added Bannan. "We are a new team, starting from scratch and can understand that we are being looked at more closely than some of the established teams. It becomes obvious when you see some teams not continuing next year."
The licence commission has now accepted 16 out a maximum of 18 teams for the WorldTour. It will make its final decision by December 10.
Italy's head sports prosecutor notes less doping cases
Ettore Torri, chief prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), noted a reduction in doping cases at a meeting on Saturday.
"When I started working as a prosecutor, the situation was dramatic. I can say that today there is a vast change. In the last years of the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta there has been no doping cases," he said, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I am not optimistic enough to say that doping has been beaten, but at the professional level the phenomenon was greatly reduced and I had a hand in it. Why is this? There's less interest in doping. Before the checks were few and penalties minor, now it's not worth the risk."
One year ago, Torri slammed cycling.
"Lately, all of the cyclists I've interrogated have said that everyone dopes," explained Torri in October last year.
"The more I'm involved in this, the more I wonder at how widespread doping's become. And I don't think it will be erased because it just evolves continuously. There are new substances coming out that can't be tested for."
Torri worked on the cases which suspended Ivan Basso, Alejandro Valverde, Ricardo Riccò and others.
Philippe Gilbert wins IG Markets' rider of 2011 award
Philippe Gilbert won the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index award today for rider of the year. It noted the Belgian's wins in all three Ardennes Classics and Tour de France success, stage one and a day in the yellow jersey.
"Gilbert had an outstanding spring, a strong summer and was competitive right up to the end of the season," read a press release. "2011 will surely go down as one of the best overall performances seen in the past twenty years."
Its Pro Cycling Index debuted this year. The ranking system provides an alternative view to those by the UCI and CQRanking.
Tour Down Under announces first teams
Sky's roster and those of two other teams racing the Tour Down Under in January are finalised by the organiser. It announced the names over the last week.
Sky: Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR), Geraint Thomas (GBR), Christopher Sutton (AUS), Alex Dowsett (GBR), Michael Rogers (AUS), Danny Pate (USA) and Mathew Hayman (AUS).
BMC-Racing: Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Adam Blythe (GBR), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Martin Kohler (SUI), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Tim Roe (AUS) and Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).
Rabobank: Luis León Sánchez (ESP), Michael Matthews (AUS), Tom Leezer (NED), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Jos Van Emden (NED), Graeme Brown (AUS) and Wilco Kelderman (NED).
The race starts on Sunday, January 15 with a criterium. On Tuesday, it continues with six stages through South Australia.
Zipvit Sport to sponsor BMC Racing
Zipvit Sport will sponsor BMC Racing for the next three years, 2012 though 2014, with its products. All riders, including Tour winner Cadel Evans and Philippe Gilbert, will use the Project ZV range and help with product development.
"The progressive approach we have in working with teams and using their feedback and experience," said Zipvit Sport CEO Warren Bailey in a press release, "ensures we continue to produce advanced sports nutrition to maximize performance in endurance sports at all levels."
Zipvit Sport products contain ingredients, such as colostrum, beta alanine, glutamine and branch chain amino acids in their recovery products.
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