On Monday the UCI announced several teams had obtained Pro Tour licences for 2012, meaning they will be in the top division of cycling for the coming year. The full list and the press release is on the UCI website.
If there was plenty of satisfaction from the teams named, two squads were left looking less pleased:
The decisions concerning the GreenEDGE Cycling and RadioShack-Nissan teams will be announced later – the Commission is currently waiting for the teams to provide additional documents.
Think about this for a minute. Greenedge has been in gestation for 18 months now and has been assiduous in courting the UCI. Radioshack’s “merger” with Leopard only dates from September. But in both cases the UCI has effectively told the world that these squads have administrative issues and that something is wrong. Perhaps it’s just a missing piece of A4, perhaps something more?
I’m not sure this is a great move, it just invites questions and cranks up the rumour mill. A press release should contain timely information but surely the process could be more discreet so that teams are not named and shamed in public? If there is a missing piece of paper then maybe this should be dealt with and only once a final decision for all teams is taken should the outcome be known?
Greenedge wants sponsors for 2012. It might already have a couple but if it wants to secure more, negative headlines don’t help. And informed rumour says Radioshack-Nissan’s problems are more profound. That the US retailer has a sponsorship contract with Capital Sports Entertainment, the corporate entity behind the US squad… but that it is Leopard and owner Flavio Becca that is submitting the licence to the UCI and this contradicts rules that insist a team is a single legal entity.
I’ve said before the admin aspect of the licence review should be conducted earlier in the year. This way there’s a lot more time to sort out the paperwork and it also means riders who sign for a team after the transfer window opens on 1 August can be sure they are going to a team that is approved by the UCI and its financial assessors, Ernst & Young.
I can’t help feel it would be better to name the Pro Tour teams once they’re all in place instead of putting out some the names halfway through the process. Maybe some teams have real issues but airing this doesn’t help anyone; go back to this time last year and the Pegasus riders could not do much about their team’s demise as they were torn between the “waiting for paperwork” announcements and the fact that most teams had completed their rosters. It’s better to have a set date and if these squads cannot clear the hurdles then so be it. But a running commentary and bad headlines don’t help teams or the sport.
- Talking of changes to the UCI’s Pro Tour, whilst on the subject it would be good if “Pro Tour and “World Tour” could be cleared up. Teams used to get a World Tour licence but now the league of teams is called Pro Tour but the calendar of races is still confusingly called the World Tour. A single identity would be easier for all, no?