December 10, 2012

Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank team was awarded a sought-after WorldTour license on Monday, confirming the Danish outfit's place in cycling's elite division for the 2013 season. Saxo, along with French outfits AG2R La Mondiale and FDJ and Belgian team Lotto, retained their place in the 18-strong top division, providing them automatic entrance to the sport's marquee races.

   However there was no place for Katusha, which means the Joaquim Rodriguez-led Russian outfit will have to rely on invitations from organisers to take part in the grand tours, one-day classics and other principal events.

   The only change from last season is the inclusion of Dutch outfit Argos, who feature young German duo Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb. The sport's governing body the UCI did not provide any reason concerning the refusal to grant Katusha WorldTour status.

   "The request from the team Katusha for registration in first division has been rejected," d the federation in a statement. In accordance with UCI regulations, this team's application has been forwarded to the UCI administration, so that the latter may assess the possibility of registering this team as a UCI Professional Continental Team."

   Aside from sporting performance, the UCI's Licenses Commission also takes ethical and financial criteria into account.

   "Purito" Rodriguez, 33, claimed victory in the Fleche Wallonne classic as well as the Tour of Lombardy this year. The Spaniard also finished second at the Tour of Italy and third in the Tour of Spain as he claimed top spot in the year-end WorldTour standings.

   Russian Denis Menchov, a two-time winner of the Vuelta and 2009 Giro champion whose name was mentioned in connection with disgraced trainer Michele Ferrari in October, is another notable member of the Katusha team.
   The 18 UCI WorldTour licenced teams

   AG2R La Mondiale (FRA), Argos (NED), Astana (KAZ), BMC (USA), Cannondale (ITA), Euskaltel (ESP), FDJ (FRA), Garmin (USA), Lampre (ITA), Lotto (BEL), Movistar (ESP), Omega Pharma (BEL), Orica (AUS), ex-Rabobank (NED), RadioShack (USA), Saxo (DEN), Team Sky (GBR), Vacansoleil (NED)
The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced today that Team Argos-Shimano has been granted a World Tour license. The team has satisfied sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria to achieve this, and will hold the license for the next four years, thereby assuring it of participation in all competitions at the highest level during that period. This is the international cycling team’s reward for its consistently-applied policy based on a progressive concept with proven results.

Iwan Spekenbrink, general manager of Team Argos-Shimano, says the World Tour license is the result of hard work by a talented, united and dedicated group of staff and riders. “Team Argos-Shimano represents an innovative and modern top sport project, in which we take the responsibility of coaching our talented athletes totally and in all respects; a method that has been successful in other sports and will undoubtedly be applied elsewhere in cycling.” Cycling experience and a great deal of expertise and knowledge from outside cycling are all fundamental to the team’s structure. Based on the process-oriented 1t4i principle (team spirit – inspiration – integrity – improvement – innovation), which is directed at improving both individuals and the team, the riders’ physical and mental talents are linked to intensive modern coaching, a method that has been shown to be effective.

“This World Tour license is a reward for the combination of a strong group of riders and innovative coaching staff, who have managed to get into the World Tour through their own efforts. It’s greatly satisfying to work with a team that’s growing mainly through developing itself. The granting of this license is also certainly what our faithful sponsors deserve. They have enabled us to achieve this and really believe in using a sustainable policy like ours in building a top sporting organization. The World Tour licence puts us in position to consistently continue our policy in the next few years and so keep on growing”, says Spekenbrink.

Follow Team Argos-Shimano at  

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