Team Sky has been issued with a ProTour licence for the next four years. The British team is one of 17 named by the Union Cycliste International (UCI) as having passed all the criteria set out by the ProTour council.
Astana has also been re-issued with their ProTour licence after the Kazakh team’s application went down to the wire. It comes with a clause however. The UCI has stated that it is still waiting to see an additional bank guarantee from the team.
Earlier in the year the President of the ProTour council, Vittorio Adorni requested the withdrawal of Astana’s licence after they failed to pay their riders’ wages. This request that would be reactivated if this guarantee does not materialise.
The situation will do nothing for the ongoing saga of whether or not Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will stay with the team. The Spaniard is expected to see out the final year of his contract if the team, now run by Frenchman Yvon Sanquer, gains the licence. If not, he is set to move to Caisse d’Epargne.
The only team not to be given a ProTour licence is the Italian Lampre team. Their application has been referred to the licence commission which, according to the UCI’s press release, will make a decision on whether or not to withdraw the team’s licence altogether.
First ever British ProTour team
The news will reach Team Sky as they continue with their first get together in Manchester. Hidden away behind closed doors and a surprising veil of secrecy, the riders, management and staff are currently planning their first season together.
Sky’s application was handed to the UCI back in July, but an anomaly in the paperwork meant they were kept waiting until today before they were confirmed as a ProTour team for 2010. According to Team Principal Dave Brailsford, it came down to the fact he hadn’t initialled every page of every rider’s contract.
Sky’s ProTour licence will run until 2013, as will that of Lance Armstrong’s Team Radio Shack.
The seventeen confirmed ProTour teams are:
Astana (KAZ) on the condition they produce of a bank guarantee
Caisse d’Epargne (ESP)
Française des Jeux (FRA)
Team Columbia-HTC (USA)
Team Milram (GER)
Omega Pharma-Lotto (BEL)
Quick Step (BEL)
Saxo Bank (DEN)
Team Katusha (RUS)
AG2R La Mondaile (FRA)
Team Radio Shack (USA)
Team Sky (GBR)
All ProTour licences run for between one and four years, however the registration of ProTour teams takes place every year. This is to prove to the ProTour council that the team continues to have the budget in place to carry on.