The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has received applications from 20 teams for Wildcard status, enabling them to be invited to take part in ProTour-level events.
Only two teams from the 19 who have already been granted Professional Continental status have not applied for a Wildcard – the Polish CCC Polsat Polkowice team and Brazil’s Scott-Marcondes César Sao José dos Campos. Three further squads who have yet to have their Professional Continental applications approved have also applied for a Wildcard.
Applicants will have to meet similar criteria to a full-blown ProTour team, including quality of team and riders; legal criteria; financial requirements; and ethics, particularly in respect of adhering to a strict anti-doping stance.
Those teams who are allocated Wildcard status will have to take part in the UCI’s biological passport anti-doping programme, where all riders’ blood and urine values are tracked throughout the season. This includes making a financial contribution to running the biological passport scheme and, in theory, creates a level playing field for all teams that will be competing together at ProTour events.
Professional Continental-level teams sit in the tier below the top-level ProTour squads, and generally have smaller budgets and less riders than ProTour outfits. Applying for wildcard status allows smaller teams to have a chance of competing in the big races.
Wildcard status does not guarantee that a team will be invited to an event denoted as ‘Historic’ within the UCI’s World Calendar, which includes the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo among others. The organisers of these events have their own wildcard entry system.
Professional Continental teams applying for Wildcard status
Acqua & Sapone (ITA)
Andalucia Cajasur (ESP)
Androni Giocattoli* (VEN)
Bbox Bouygues Teleco (FRA)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Carmiooro – NGC (GBR)
Ceramica Flaminia (IRL)
Cervélo Test Team (SUI)
Cofidis, le crédit en ligne (FRA)
Colnago – CSF Inox (IRL)
De Rosa – Stac Plastic (IRL)
ISD – Neri (ITA)
Rock Racing* (USA)
Saur – Sojasun (FRA)
Skil – Shimano (NED)
Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator (BEL)
Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team (NED)
Voralberg – Corratec (AUT)
Xacobeo Galicia Team* (ESP)
* Indicates a team that has yet to have its Professional Continental application approved by the UCI.