The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Licence Commision has ruled that Saxo Bank can retain its WorldTour licence through the 2012 season.
The Danish team’s status in the sport’s top flight had been called into question after its star rider, Alberto Contador, had his 2011 results annulled after being found guilty of a doping infringement. Contador’s points accounted for 68% of Saxo Bank’s total – teams must meet a minimum requirement of points based on race results to join the WorldTour.
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The UCI had lodged a request with the Licence Commision to review Saxo Bank’s status, and the commision found in Bjarne Riis’s team’s favour. According to a UCI statement, the commission ruled that “the special circumstances of the case… did not in themselves justify the withdrawal of the licence granted on 18 November”.
UCI president Pat McQuaid commented: “[The] UCI followed the correct procedure in accordance with the rules. The Licence Commission carried out its work and took its decision in an entirely independent manner and therefore we accept this ruling in a serene manner.”
Saxo Bank’s current licence runs until 31 December 2012. A new, 2013 licence application would need to meet the licence requirements in order to be accepted.
Contador was suspended from competition for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February after a protracted process. The Spaniard had tested positive for banned substance clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, but was subsequently cleared by the Spanish Cycling federation.
CAS banned Contador after the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency had appealed against the Spanish Cycling Federation’s decision to clear Contador. CAS imposed a back-dated suspension, and anulled all of Contador’s results since and including the 2010 Tour de France. This included 2011 Giro d’Italia stages and overall; 2011 Tour of Murica stages and overall; and wins at the 2012 Tour of San Luis.
The suspension will end on August 5 2012.
Contador was signed to Saxo Bank from the Astana squad after the 2010 Tour de France, but before news of his positive test emerged.