By Nigel Wynn
Cycle sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has published a list of registered WorldTour teams for the 2014 season. The UCI says that the licence applications for the Belgian Lotto-Belisol and Dutch Argos-Shimano teams contained unspecified irregularities, and the two teams' applications must go before the licence commission for assessment.
In order to qualify for a first division UCI WorldTour licence - and be awarded the status of 'ProTeam' in UCI parlance - squads must satisfy a number of criteria: sporting, ethical, financial and administrative. Failure to meet one or more of these criteria will mean further scrutiny by the UCI licence commission, and possible rejection from the WorldTour.
An 'irregularity' in a licence application may simply be due to a missing piece of paperwork that needs to provided. This is the case with Lotto-Belisol, and the team confirmed that is has 'two administrative formalities' to clear up, whilst Argos-Shimano stated that its delay is due to documentation relating to its change in title sponsor next season.
There are 18 ProTeam slots for 2014. The nine teams that have continuing ProTeam licences for 2014 are: Ag2r, Belkin, BMC Racing, Cannondale, FDJ, Garmin-Sharp, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Katusha and Saxo Bank.
Sky, Astana, Lampre-Merida, Movistar and Orica-GreenEdge have all applied for a renewed licence. Europcar has applied for a licence for the first time, and Trek has requested a transfer of licence from the RadioShack-Leopard team.
The first round of UCI licence commission decisions are due to be published on November 25, with the final list of ProTeams published on December 10.
Last year, Katusha were ejected from the WorldTour but were awarded a licence after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which led to 19 squads in the WorldTour in 2013. Former WorldTour teams Euskaltel-Euskadi and Vacansoleil-DCM teams disbanded at the end of the 2013 season due to lack of sponsorship.
Projected 2014 WorldTour teams
Argos-Shimano (licence subject to assessment)
Astana (renewal applied for)
Europcar (new licence application)
Lotto-Belisol (licence subject to assessment)
Movistar (renewal applied for)
Orica-GreenEdge (renewal applied for)
Sky (renewal applied for)
Trek (licence transfer requested)
No longer in WorldTour
Euskaltel-Euskadi (team disbanded)
Vacansoleil-DCM (team disbanded)
Argos-Shimano to have new title sponsor in 2014
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