Team Saxo-Tinkoff Granted WorldTour License by UCI
Twice Tour de France champion Alberto Contador’s Team Saxo-Tinkoff was surprisingly granted an automatic spot for the top pro road cycling races of the 2013 season, at the expense of world number one Joaquim Rodriguez’s Katusha team earlier today.
Team Argos-Shimano was also granted a WorldTour license, as expected.
“The request from the team Katusha for registration in the first division has been rejected,” the International Cycling Union (UCI) said in a statement without elaborating.
UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani explained that the decision had been taken by the independent License Commission, which makes its decisions on a combination of sporting, ethical, administrative and financial grounds.
Katusha were on the list of the top 15 teams by sporting value so were rejected for other reasons - thereby making room for both Team Argos-Shimano and Team Saxo-Tinkoff in the WorldTour.
The status of Contador’s team was under threat because Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank finished outside the top 15 in 2012 because of Contador's points not being counted as a result of his doping offense.
The decision means that Katusha, who finished second in the World Tour standings in 2012, will need invitations to take part in the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the Tour of Spain and several one-day classics and leading one-week races.