Cofidis and Arkéa-Samsic apply for WorldTour licences as 20 teams submit registration

The two teams will find out whether they have successfully gained WorldTour status in the coming months

Cyril Lemoine and Clement Russo of Cofidis and Arkéa-Samsic (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Arkéa-Samsic and Cofidis have applied for WorldTour licences ahead of the 2020 season, with the ranks of the top tier of professional cycling potentially swelling to 20 teams next year.

All 18 teams who raced at WorldTour level in 2019 have re-applied to renew their licence, with Katusha merging with Pro-Continental outfit Israel Cycling Academy, therefore hoping to retain their top-level status following a review of the deal by the UCI.

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In April the UCI said it would change its rules to allow an extra two teams to gain WorldTour status, from 18 to 20, with five teams originally in the hunt for promotion. These teams were Arkéa Samsic, B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, Cofidis, Total Direct Energie and Israel Cycling Academy, with Total Direct Energie and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept set to race at Pro-Continental level once again next year.

Arkéa-Samsic have made a number of high-profile signings recently as they show their intent to compete at cycling's highest level, with Movistar's Nairo Quintana switching to the French team, along with Winner Anacona. Meanwhile, when André Greipel's contract termination was announced, they moved to sign a new sprint team, gaining the signatures of Nacer Bouhanni, Daniel McLay and Thomas Boudat.

Cofidis have been a Pro-Continental team since 2010, have signed Deceuninck - Quick-Step's Elia Viviani ahead of the 2020 season, and boast the likes of Christophe Laporte and Jésus Herrada, who beat Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) to claim the inaugural Mont Ventoux challenge in June.

45 teams have applied for registration with the UCI next year for either WorldTour, Pro-Continental or Women's WorldTour licences ahead of the 2020 season.

The big news in the Pro-Continental ranks is the absence of Burgos-BH and WNT-Rotor. Burgos-BH are said to currently be having issues with compliance as the public budgets used to fund the team are only passed in mid-October.

17 teams in total have applied for Pro-Continental licences, while eight women's teams seek Women's WorldTour licences, with Boels-Dolmans a notable absence after their sponsors pulled out. The eight teams are Lizzie Deignan's Trek Segafredo, CCC-Liv, Canyon SRAM, Sunweb, Movistar, Mitchelron-Scott, FDJ Nouvelle - Aquitaine Futuroscope and Alé BTC Ljubljana.

Following audits and assessment of teams' compliance, the UCI say they will announce their decision on the allocation and renewal of licences on December 19 at the latest.

Jonny Long

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