By Nigel Wynn
Cycle sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has released a list of teams that have so far submitted an application for a top-tier WorldTour licence for 2012.
Eight teams have submitted their applications to the UCI for consideration for a new licence. Ernst & Young will evaluate the applications on behalf of the UCI according to several criteria: budget, sponsorship contracts, a bank guarantee, 10 signed contracts with riders and description of team structure (applicable for new teams only).
New Australian team GreenEdge is among the applicants for registration as a ProTeam - the UCI's name for a WorldTour-level squad. Also included are FDJ, Katusha, Lotto Cycling Project, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Project 1T4I (formerly known as Skil-Shimano), Saxo Bank-Sungard and Europcar.
Ten teams have an existing WorldTour licence that carries through to 2012, or beyond: Ag2r, Astana, BMC Racing, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Lampre-ISD, Liquigas-Cannondale, Rabobank, Radioshack-Nissan, Sky and Vacansoleil-DCM.
Not listed as either holding an existing WorldTour licence or as applying for a new licence are Garmin-Cervelo and Movistar.
Gone from the 2011 list of ProTeams are Leopard-Trek (amalgated into RadioShack-Nissan) and HTC-Highroad (disbanded due to lack of sponsorship). Omega Pharma-Lotto and Quick Step have effectively split into two new teams - Omega Pharma-Quick Step and the Lotto Cycling Project.
Existing ProTeam licence holders will have their 2012 registration process finalised by November 1, as long as they rank among the top 15 teams to meet the UCI's sporting criteria.
ProTeams have automatic entry into events on the UCI's WorldTour calendar, which includes all three Grand Tours and spring classics.
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