The Geox team of Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre failed to receive a first division licence for next year. According to Italian website Tuttobiciweb, the International Cycling Union (UCI) will overlook the team Geox when it grants the final 18 ProTeam licenses by December 1.
Britain's Team Sky and three other teams - Garmin-Cervélo, Rabobank and Omega Pharma-Lotto - were the only teams assured of a first division licence in a UCI press release last month. The UCI's plan, however, is to grant the first 15 teams in its sporting rankings a first division licence. The UCI's licence commission will award the remaining licences to three of the five team's ranked 16th through 20th: Euskaltel, Geox, Quick Step, Cofidis and AG2R.
Geox's team president, Maurizio D'Angelo, though, received the bad news last night. UCI President Pat McQuaid called to tell him that Geox is not one of the three teams. That leaves Spain's Euskaltel, Belgium's Quick Step and France's Cofidis and Ag2r in an elimination race.
This summer, Geox signed 2008 Tour de France winner Sastre and this year's third place finisher, Menchov. The UCI calculated its sporting rankings based off the results from 2009 and 2010 of the best 15 riders that the team has signed. Team Luxembourg topped the rankings by signing Andy and Fränk Schleck, and (still unofficial) mega-winner Fabian Cancellara.
Italian footwear company Geox agreed in August to take over sponsorship of Mauro Gianetti's Footon-Servetto team for next year. The Italian press originally reported that Geox agreed to the five-year, €50 million contract, but Gianetti would not confirm the terms.
Gianetti's team is a continuation of the Saunier Duval team, 2004 to 2008. The team lost its sponsor and re-structured itself at the end of the 2008 season, following the doping positives of Leonardo Piepoli and Riccardo Riccò for EPO-CERA at that year's Tour de France.
UCI's sporting rankings
1 Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project
5 Omega Pharma-Lotto
10 Saxo Bank SunGard
11 Team RadioShack
13 Pro Team Astana
15 BMC Racing Team
18 Quick Step
23 Pegasus Sports
25 Acqua e Sapone
Pegasus misses UCI ProTeam cut
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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