The International Cycling Union (UCI) made a pre-emptive strike this afternoon, announcing the ProTeam, first division teams for 2011 two weeks early. Sky made the list of 18 teams, but Geox and Cofidis were excluded and will race in the second division.
"As the Licence Commission refused their licence requests," read the UCI's press release, "the Geox-TMC and Cofidis teams will be automatically registered as UCI Professional Continental Teams."
Both teams previously raced in the first division or ProTour (as it was called from 2005 through 2010), but had to battle for the remaining spots. On November 2, the UCI released a ranked list of 20 teams - Sky, Garmin-Cervélo, Rabobank and Omega Pharma-Lotto were in the top 15 and guaranteed first division status.
The UCI announced it planned to grant the other teams in the top 15 a first division licence, but that it would award the remaining licences to three of the five team's ranked 16th through 20th: Euskaltel, Geox, Quick Step, Cofidis and Ag2r.
Omega Pharma-Lotto (BEL)
Quick Step (BEL)
Saxo Bank SunGard (DEN)
Sky ProCycling (GBR)
Team RadioShack (USA)
ProTeams renewed or received its first licence
BMC Racing Team (USA) 2011-2014
Euskaltel-Euskadi (ESP) 2011-2012
HTC-Highroad (USA) 2011-2014
Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA) 2011-2014
Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project (LUX) 2011-2014
Movistar Team (ESP) 2011-2013
Pro Team Astana (KAZ) 2011-2013
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro (NED) 2011-2013
To rank the list, the UCI's licence commission took into account the results from 2009 and 2010 of the best 15 riders that the team had to submit by October 22. The UCI ranked Sky eighth and team Luxembourg - which has Fränk and Andy Schleck, and reportedly Fabian Cancellara - first. Vacansoleil and BMC Racing were 12th and 15th, respectively, and will race in the first division for their first time.
"The whole group of staff, riders and sponsors made this possible," said Vacansoleil Team Manager Daan Luijkx. "We were good in 2009, better in 2010 and the 2011 team has an enormous potential."
"What this means," said BMC Racing Team President Jim Ochowicz, "is that we can certainly prepare the team better and have more opportunities for success throughout the year."
BMC continues cycling's global shift. Only one French team, Ag2r, made the cut, versus four American teams - RadioShack, HTC-Highroad, Garmin-Cervelo and BMC.
"The new system makes a selection on the criteria of ethics, the financial strength of teams and the team's administration," said UCI President Pat McQuaid last month at the World Championships. "Going further than before, it creates a ranking of teams based on their sporting values."
The UCI said it will release a complete list of second division, Professional Continental teams on 10 December.
Ranked list from November 2
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
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 United Healthcare
37 Team Netapp
38 Team SpiderTech
39 Caja Rural
40 Colombia Es Pasion-Café de Colombia
41 De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia
42 Andalucía Caja Granada
Geox continues to hope for ProTeam spot
2011 UCI World Calendar
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