The Katusha team has been granted a WorldTour licence by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week upheld the Russian team’s appeal against the UCI’s original decision to deny it a ProTeam licence.
The move means that there will now be 19 registered WorldTour teams for the 2013 season. According to a UCI statement issued on Monday: “the decision to have 19 as opposed to 18 Teams was taken by the Professional Cycling Council today”.
WorldTour teams – termed ProTeams by the UCI – have automatic entry into all races in the UCI’s WorldTour calendar, including all three Grand Tours and many one-day classics such as Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders.
The addition of a 19th team will cause a problem in many races where the organiser has already announced wildcard teams that did not already include Katusha – Paris-Nice and the Giro d’Italia, for example. The organiser will now either have to find space for the squad, or remove one wildcard team to make room.
The original reason for the UCI not granting a WorldTour licence to Katusha was never fully revealed. Teams applying for a WorldTour licence must meet several criteria – sporting, ethical, financial and administrative. It is thought that Katusha was denied a licence on either ethical or administrative grounds. Either way, CAS overturned the UCI’s original decision after studying the case.
Katusha finished in second place in the UCI’s 2012 WorldTour ranking, with the team’s Joaquim Rodriguez topping the individual rider ranking.
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