Eighteen teams could be battling for 17 places on the UCI WorldTour this winter if cycling’s governing body decides to reduce the number of teams it provides licenses to.
The UCI currently sanctions 18 teams to ride at the WorldTour level but is reportedly keen to reduce that figure by one meaning some big name riders could miss out on some of the sport’s biggest races next season.
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Tinkoff and IAM Cycling are dropping out, but two new teams have applied for top-level status, with the newly formed Bahrain-Merida and the currently UCI Pro Continental Bora-Hansgrohe looking to make the step up.
If it comes down to the number of WorldTour points accrued during the 2016 season it looks set to be Mark Cavendish‘s Dimension Data who would miss out. With high finishes in general classifications counting for more points than Grand Tour stage wins, the African team is lagging well behind its rivals for the 17th place.
Bahrain-Merida and Bora-Hansgrohe boast impressive numbers of WorldTour points thanks to their big-name signings for next season. Vincenzo Nibali and Ion Izagirre are moving to the Bahrain team and boast 241 and 270 points respectively.
WorldTour individual rankings winner Peter Sagan, meanwhile, significantly boosts Bora’s total, bringing 669 points to the table – nearly three times the amount of Dimension Data‘s top riders put together.
At the Pro Continental level, One Pro Cycling have again applied for a place in the sport’s second tier after a successful first season at the level. Also applying for a licence is the new Irish team Aqua Blue Sport, which boasts Matt Brammeier, Martyn Irvine and Conor Dunne.