By Gregor Brown
The UCI licence commission is enforcing its rules on who can and cannot be in its WorldTour club. Of the teams with licences for next year, two - RadioShack and Vacansoleil - are under review according to a press release on Wednesday.
"According to the rules, UCI can review the licences when there's something out of the norm," UCI's press officer, Enrico Carpani told Cycling Weekly. "Every year the team's registration has to confirm to the regulations. In theory, the commission can withdraw the licence."
The UCI issues licences based on four criteria: sporting, ethical, financial and administration. It confirmed the continuation of licences for teams Sky, Astana, BMC Racing, Lampre, Liquigas, Movistar and Rabobank, but left out RadioShack-Nissan and Vacansoleil-DMC. The commission will hear the two teams soon, in the next two weeks as it will award more licences after November 20.
The licence commission sent all the teams its review focusing on the four criteria. In the case of Dutch team Vacansoleil, it is concerned about ethics. In the last year, the team's riders were involved in doping cases.
Vacansoleil press officer, Ard Bierens told Cycling Weekly, "I think it has to do with the cases of Riccardo Riccò and Ezequiel Mosquera."
Shortly after it signed Spain's Mosquera, the UCI revealed he failed a doping test at the Vuelta a España on the way to finishing second. He raced for team Karpin-Galicia at the time and due to the test result, never raced for Vacansoleil.
The team also signed Italy's Riccò, who just returned from a 20-month ban for using blood booster EPO at the 2008 Tour de France. He raced most of last year for Italian team Ceramica-Flaminia and signed for Vacansoleil in August. In February, he nearly died reportedly due to a botched blood transfusion. He was fired immediately and faces a likely 12-year ban, due to be announced in the coming days.
"We were already told in February when we had our problems with Riccò that we could be invited to the licence commission," added Bierens. "We never heard anything after that, but we expected to speak to them."
RadioShack-Nissan appears to be under review for financial and administrative reasons. Luxembourg's Leopard-Trek team announced in September that it would fuse with the American team, taking on its sponsor and name. Leopard's WorldTour licence runs through 2014, whereas RadioShack's ends this year.
The merger forced several riders out, but stars Andy and Fränk Schleck, and Fabian Cancellara remain. Johan Bruyneel continues in his role as RadioShack's general manager, replacing Leopard's Brian Nygaard.
Bruyneel and the team's press officer were unavailable when called for this article.
The licence commission will also examine France's Ag2r La Mondiale and Spain's Euskaltel-Euskadi, but for different reasons. They finished outside a list of 15 teams based on the sporting criteria. The UCI published the ranking on October 25.
The licence commission will announce a definitive list of 18 WorldTour teams on December 10.
Teams with ProTour licences
AG2R La Mondiale (2010-2012)
Astana (2011-2013) *
BMC Racing (2011-2014) *
Garmin-Cervélo (2008-2012) *
Lampre-ISD (2010-2013) *
Liquigas-Cannondale (2011-2014) *
Movistar (2011-2013) *
Rabobank (to 2012) *
Sky (2010-2013) *
* Eight licences already confirmed for 2012
Applying or renewing teams
Katusha (licence expired)
Lotto Cycling Project
OmegaPharma-Quick Step (licence expired for both two merged teams)
Saxo Bank-SunGard (licence expired)
RadioShack and Vacansoleil ProTeam licences under further scrutiny
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