Pro Tour paperwork

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

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.

Summary
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?
Feargal November 23, 2011 at 9:42 am

The Summary is correct.
The drip, drip, drip process of announcing teams looks wholly unprofessional.
Yet more reasons for sponsors and potential sponsors to look elsewhere.

Evan November 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

overthrow the uci

Ilaria November 23, 2011 at 10:14 am

Yep, LT/RS insist they are the same team as LT but the UCI didn’t buy it and as a new team they have some…ehm… inchoerences :P http://allezandy.blogspot.com/2011/11/suspance-uci-licences-and-radio-shack.html

Rab Austen November 23, 2011 at 10:16 am

And while the UCI continues this debacle the losers continue to be Riders, fans and the associated team staff. Until something comes along that threatens the pockets of Pat and & Co. then nothing will change. Bring on the Rothschild breakaway and shake this thing up. We need to stop messing about with peoples careers and livelihoods and ruining a sport in the process.

fat pat November 23, 2011 at 10:47 am

totally agree. the UCI is all about power tripping. unfortunately though, the one thing cyclists love most is negative gossip…

Jerome_w November 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Speaking of which as soon as I saw the recent development in the breakaway league info Ive been thinking I can’t wait to hear what inner ring has to think Awesome blog keep up the good work

Anna November 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Yes!

[…but I didn’t notice any changes regarding the death of the ‘ProTour’. It’s just that if you get a ‘WorldTour’ licence – and happen to be a team not a race – you may still proudly call yourself ‘ProTeam’, no? Which is all right, I think, since ‘WorldTeam’ would sound a bit like… intergalactic Olympics?!]

Mike November 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Purely speculation but would the UCI have motives to try and get a bigger spread of say international teams or the complete opposite and focus on european teams? Like you say, it’s some what nonsensical to shame teams. It doesn’t achieve anything.
Could/Would the UCI go so far as to making it easier for say a non-euro/US team in a country where cycling is developing? Probably not as, from what I understand from previous posts, the criteria is quite strict (though is it transparent?). An interesting thought though no?
Obviously those teams would probably struggle to secure the ‘points’ without huge backers but imagine a large Japanese/Chinese/Indian corporation throwing huge amounts of money at a ProTour team. Besides the current economic environment, I would’ve thought these sorts of corporations would benefit more from sponsorship than the sorts companies that currently sponsor the majority of Euro based ProTour teams whom are relatively unknown outside of the Europe… or are they and I’m in a bubble???

ave November 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

>it would be better to name the Pro Tour teams once they’re all in place

That would only mean that not 2 teams, but 18 teams being kept in the dark. It’s certainly better to know half results than no results, no?
Just like as quick top10 results after a stage is more important that to wait 30 minutes to get the full results.

Felipe November 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm

@ave Don’t agree with you. Race results and team definitions are a hole diferent thing.
For teams definitions it’s important to set a date and then disclosure all the info at once, preferably before the transfer window opens on august, 1. As INRNG said, putting out some names halfway through the process is bad marketing for teams and sponsors, and it’s not helpful for the riders.
On the other hand, having that all set by august 1, gives the teams credibility before their sponsors and the riders some peace of mind when renewing contracts.

Big Mikey November 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Wait a second…..the UCI cocks up something so straightforward as announcing approved Pro Tour teams?

Well, I never…..

Champs November 23, 2011 at 7:48 pm

And here I’m still scratching my head over ProTour licenses versus ProTeams.

Darren November 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm

In order to save money, which can be better be applied to whisky expenses, the UCI decided to employ civil servants, being 0.00125% cheaper than qualified professionals, once leave time, sick time, and public holiday bridge-days are taken into account, not to mention free air-tickets, subscriptions to Slackers Monthly, and free battery charging for their e-bikes!!!

slim jim November 24, 2011 at 12:19 am

Surely the lesson here should come from BMC and Garmin.

Start your first year as a pro-conti team with some goods riders; get some impressive results in early season races and the Giro and gain wildcard entry to Le Tour.
Apply for a Protour licence for your second year in the competition.

CGradeCyclist November 24, 2011 at 5:00 am

I agree with Slim Jim – I think it should be a ‘compulsory progression’ from Pro Conti level to ProTour level. No team should come in as a ProTour team in its first year…

In my ideal world (ha!!) – ALL teams would be Pro Conti level. The Top 10 each year would win automatic Grand Tour access and, say, entry to a minimum number of World Tour events (of their choice). And ‘points’ would go with the team, not the rider…

Now, I just have to run for UCI president to get my plan off the ground… ;)

MHz November 24, 2011 at 5:12 am

“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 would not interpret the UCI press release Re: GreenEdge the way you do. It may not be that after 18 months they have missed a document. Rather, it may be that they are requesting additional supporting documentation or further clarification of something in the documents supplied. It certainly does not say that they cocked up the paperwork and forgot to include something.

Same could go for RadioSchleck too, but given the suddenness of that move I could expect that oversights in paperwork could happen more easily.

MHz November 24, 2011 at 5:13 am

Sorry, and by “they” I mean UCI, and by “certainly does not say” I mean does not say that explicitly, only by implication.

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