2012 UCI pro teams

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

UCI world tour logo

A press release from the UCI sets out which teams have a World Tour licence for 2012 and which teams have applied to stay in the top flight and which teams want to renew their licence:

Ag2r-La Mondiale
Astana
BMC Racing
Euskaltel-Euskadi
Lampre-ISD
Liquigas-Cannondale
Rabobank
Radioshack-Nissan
Sky Pro Cycling
Vacansoleil-DCM

 

Next up are the teams applying to join the World Tour or to see their existing licence renewed:

FDJ
Greenedge
Katusha
Lotto
Omega Pharma-Quick Step
Project 1T4I
Saxo Bank-Sungard
Europcar

Project 1T4I is Skil-Shimano’s new identity. Of the existing teams, note “Radioshack-Nissan”. The squad appears settled on two names for 2012 after they tried to announce three. There is no mention of Trek right now.

Note the absence of existing World Tour squads Garmin and Movistar. What is going on here? It seems there are delays to the paperwork but fans will get nervous here, let us hope all is well. It’s no secret that Garmin has been hunting for a second sponsor.

The same is true for Geox-TMC which missed out before on the top flight, much to the frustration of the Italian sponsors. The squad has been busy hiring two Iranian riders largely to boost their points tally so I suspect this is again a question of paperwork, perhaps caused by delays in agreeing Juan-José Cobo’s future.

If we take the two lists in the tables above and combine them we have 18 teams meaning one place for everyone. But it’s not so simple. Once Garmin and Movistar submit their applications then two of the above teams could lose out, if Geox gets busy too then that means three in the tables above will get ejected.

Joining the top league depends on four criteria:

  • ethical: means a good reputation and if some teams seem accident prone, there’s little evidence to nail team management.
  • financial: this all about having visible funding in place and being able to lodge bank guarantees to ensure wage payments
  • administrative: getting the paperwork in on time; Garmin and Geox might get a reduced score but it’s not a deal breaker.
  • sporting: this is all about the rankings and rider points. The UCI uses an internal ranking system to calculates a team’s ranking, combining World Tour points with other results. The top 15 on the ranking are automatically approved but a team in 16-20th place gets a special review. Here Ag2R could fall flat as they’ve not scored that many points nor signed any riders with a sackload of points. And a team in 21st place or worse on the rankings is automatically failed. Frustratingly the methodology used for this sporting ranking is not made public.

Overall the registration system has just started and things are under review for now. For big teams having a World Tour licence guarantees entry into the big races including the golden ticket to the Tour de France.

Personally I’m not sure of the value for smaller squads, for example Ag2r have only five wins this year and could probably qualify for the Tour de France given their nationality, spending money on a licence that obliges them to race in Australia, China and other markets where the sponsor has no operations might not be ideal and they don’t seem to enjoy the big races. The same is perhaps true for Euskaltel-Euskadi although much of their secondary sponsorship (eg Kuota, Orbea etc) is probably keen on global exposure.

Next steps
More paperwork will be lodged with the UCI in order to satisfy the criteria. 1 November is the day when the UCI will conduct its final internal review and the news of who is up and down, as well as in and out, should be confirmed soon after.

Alex October 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm

What is the status of those teams that aren’t on the list for ProConti? Namely:
COLOMBIA ES PASION – CAFE DE COLOMBIA
ANDALUCIA CAJA GRANADA
DE ROSA – CERAMICA FLAMINIA
ACQUA & SAPONE

Tom October 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Whats the deal with the teams that already have a World Tour licence for 2012 (the top list of 10)?
Are they guarenteed a WT licence regardless? in which case it won’t matter that AG2R have very few points, or is it totally meaningless and they still have to fight it out with the rest?

Simmi October 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Colombia es Pasion have stated they are moving back down to Continental. Difficult to understand that logic for a team still targeting a Tour de France spot in a couple of years.
De Rosa – Ceramica Flaminia are one of only two outfits in the top two divisions without a win this year. The other being NetApp. I imagine they are heading down a rung or maybe even ceasing to exist.

Tom October 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Just found the answer to my question (thanks to cyclingnews):

Ten squads are listed as already being in possession of a WorldTour licence for 2012, and they will be confirmed as WorldTour teams on November 1 provided that they “rank among the top 15 teams from the sporting point of view” and that “no irregularities are brought to notice.”

So I guess its just the difference of no new paperwork required

Patrick October 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Frankly, Europcar should have been guaranteed their license on the morning of the Galibier stage at this year’s TDF, not as simple as that I know, but we cycling fans judge a team as much by panache as by results…

Christian October 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

But will AG2R be invited to the Giro as well when they don’t have a ProTour license?

Oliver October 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm

A bit of a change of topic, but sort of sad news: rapha adds now litter this site via the folks at comp cyclist. One of the best aspects of the inrng was its ability to take on not just the UCI but Rapha and the fact that they are ripping off a culture for profit (and how they in their quest for authenticity managed to misspell french words on their $200+ “limited edition” jerseys…). Now the average inrng visitor reader will glance at the Hapha adds and might well buy some of their stuff — thinking “hey, it’s cool!” Without being aware that the content of this site proposes a more nuanced appraisal of the brand that puts price into the stratosphere with French flair and profits in their pockets with Chinese labor….

The Inner Ring October 6, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Oliver: thanks for the feedback, even critical it is good to receive. As you say I’ve pointed out Rapha’s mistakes in the past but am not here to say buy or don’t buy. Regular readers can make up their own mind… and check the colours/translations are right.

I’m grateful for Competitive Cyclist’s support and they send through new adverts so if you don’t like this one, it’ll probably change in a while. But this doesn’t change my attitude towards independence, there’s no fawning over certain companies or people but if you ever think this happens, let me know.

In short the content doesn’t change even if the ads do.

Oliver October 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Understood, but I do believe some readers have not read your point of view on Rapha — those were pieces that truly stood out from the infomercial stuff elsewhere. And the force of adverts is that they are there right on your face so the argument of “choice” (you can watch them or not) is not really on point here…. Ads work because folks don’t ignore them. And Rapha won (in a sense) because the vast majority of casual readers of the INRNG will see the add on your site as an endorsement of sorts. They trade on and benefit from your credibility which you built in part by your ability to criticize them! Oh, the irony.

jaas October 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Rapha = no one is forcing you to buy it.

Tom October 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

All this talk of Rapha makes me want to Google it and buy some. Thanks guys!

Rhys October 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Rapha is half the price of Assos/Santini here. I bought it because it’s nice quality and reasonably priced. I guess I won’t get scored highly on ethics or finance should I apply for a WT license.

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