Europcar could see rider exodus after losing WorldTour licence

General manager Jean-René Bernaudeau says he's been left tired by the licence application process

Thomas Voeckler escapes on stage two of the 2014 Tour of Catalonia (Photo: Graham Watson)

(Image credit: Watson)

After the UCI's independent Licence Commission completed its review of teams with questions hanging over their WorldTour applications, the majority of headlines on Wednesday were given over to Astana, who managed to secure top tier status for another year despite a recent string of doping scandals.

French team Europcar however, missed out, having failed to meet the financial requirements set by the UCI.

>>> Neri Sottoli granted Pro Continental licence with strict conditions

The team's general manager Jean-René Bernaudeau seemingly remained calm about the situation though. Perhaps due to, as he admitted, being left "very tired" by the whole application process.

In an interview with France's L'Équipe, Bernaudeau made it clear that riders may now leave the team due to its lowered status.

“Yes, if any of them have got offers, what do you want me to tell them?” he said.

A move away from the team, which will likely be at Pro Continental level next year, would mean the bigger name riders such as Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland may have a better chance of riding in next year's WorldTour races.

Even so, the 2015 season is now just a matter of weeks away meaning it is unlikely that riders will change teams this late on.

The loss of WorldTour status comes at the end of a season where the Europcar cycling team won very few races, none of which were at the top level, and the title sponsor had already stated their intention to cease backing at the end of 2015.

As Bernaudeau looks for a new sponsor, the offering to potential investors has now been devalued by the recent relegation.

It was the team's finances that halted the renewal of their licence. Bernaudeau stated that the team's application was “impressive on an administrative level and very good from an ethical point of view”, but failed due to “a gap of 6% between our expected receipts and expenses.”

The average budget at WorldTour level is €14 million (£11.1 million), a figure Europcar could only muster half of.

“There are three second division teams that have a bigger budget than ours,” said Bernaudeau.

“My riders aren’t paid what they are really worth.”

>>> Astana’s WorldTour licence still under review, but IAM Cycling are in

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