The International Cycling Union (UCI) has excluded the Australian Pegasus Sports team from a provisional list it released today of 20 teams that will contend for a first division, ProTeam licence.
"So, we go Pro Continental," said Pegasus Team Manager Chris White. "It must have been a sporting level decision, because I know we have everything else in order."
The UCI ranked its list on sporting criteria, which will award the first 15 teams one of the 18 ProTeam (formerly ProTour) licences. The UCI's licence commission will further analyse the teams ranked 16th to 20th.
The as-yet-unnamed Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project team incorporating Andy and Frank Schleck tops the UCI's ranking. Britain's Sky squad is eighth on the list, and the amalgamated Garmin-Cervelo squad is third.
"After the first 20 teams, if you don't comply with the sporting criteria," said UCI's press officer, Enrico Carpani, "you should not be allowed to get a ProTeam licence."
The UCI ranked the list of 42 teams based on the first 15 riders' contracts the teams had to submit to its licence commission by October 22. Teams are required to submit more contracts, up to 23, by December 1.
Pegasus' top signings so far include Robbie McEwen, Svein Tuft, Robert Hunter, Daryl Impey, Christian Knees and Sergey Klimov.
The UCI plans to release another refined list later this month, on November 20. Carpani warned that the named teams can change between now and when the UCI releases its definitive list.
"It is not final," he said. "The final decision will be given out on December 10th."
The UCI also excluded Pegasus - and Astana - in a primary list it released on October 5. Chris White said that it was for a different set of reasons they missed the earlier list and that his team later added the required documents.
If the team truly misses the ProTeam cut, White said that he will re-apply next year.
"Our intention is to be part of the World Tour," said White, "the long-term goal is to be part of cycling's first division."
His desire pleases the UCI, which set out in 2005 to globalise cycling with its ProTour, now World Tour. The Australian team raced as a third division team, Fly V, this year mostly in Australia and the USA. Next year, White will base his team in Belgium to race more European races and seek wild card entry into the top races.
UCI team sporting hierarchy 2011
1 Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project
2 Rabobank Cycling Team
5 Omega Pharma-Lotto
8 Sky ProCycling
10 Saxo Bank SunGard
11 Team RadioShack
12 Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
13 Pro Team Astana
14 Movistar Team
15 BMC Racing Team
18 Quick Step Cycling Team
19 Cofidis Le Crédit en ligne
23 Pegasus Sports
25 Acqua e Sapone
26 Colnago-CSF Inox
28 Androni Giocattoli
29 Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
30 Veranda's Willems-Accent
31 Team Type 1
32 CCC Polsat Polkowice
34 Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
36 UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
37 Team Netapp
38 Team SpiderTech powered by C10
39 Caja Rural
40 Colombia Es Pasion-Café de Colombia
41 De Rosa-Ceramica Flamina
42 Andalucia Caja Granada
ProTour is dead, long live the World Tour
2011 UCI World Calendar
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