2012 UCI Pro Teams

Professional cycling teams are ranked into three tiers. The top level is UCI Pro Team and the 18 teams here have automatic and obligatory access to the big races on the UCI’s World Tour calendar. In addition, there is a range of rules governing these teams that aim to ensure sporting and financial stability.

You’ll find the top-18 teams below, their sponsors explained plus riders and staff listed.

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Tuesday shorts

I’ve been away for the last two weeks and catching up with news from cycling. Here are a few things that have caught my attention so far.

Willunga Hill

Four weeks to go
The 2012 season is now less than four weeks away as the Tour Down Under starts on 15 January 2012. The race has grown on me over the years. Some label it a training race in the sunshine but if was only that it would be great as it marks the end of the winter off-season, we get to see the new kit and bikes abd with internet streams, the racing too.

But the rising importance of UCI Pro Tour points and the haul on offer mean the race is no holiday, there is now too much at stake for riders and teams. The overall winner takes 100 points. That’s the same as winning Paris-Roubaix or the Tour de Suisse and it is substantial enough to alter the team rankings. The top-3 teams in 2011 were separated by fewer than 100 points.

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Sunday shorts

Tour of Rwanda
The overall classification was won by the USA’s Kiel Reijnen of Team Type 1 but Joseph Biziyaremye deserves a mention too. That’s him above in Pierre Carey’s photo, just look at the crowd’s reaction as he crosses the line. L’Equipe’s Philippe Le Gars tells the story better than me but if you want it in English, here goes.

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UCI and Astana in circular firing squad

Circular firing squad

A story from L’Equipe that’s worth translating. There’s now a power-struggle inside the Astana team to decide its future.

It begins with the inclusion of Andrei Kasheckin, the Kazakh rider had a mid-season transfer from Lampre to Astana in order to ride the Vuelta. But L’Equipe claims the move should never have happened as Astana’s roster is full with 28 riders, the maximum allowed under the rules. Adding Kasheckin would mean 29 riders, more than allowed. Yet the UCI approved Kasheckin’s transfer and racing licence a few days ago.

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National Teams in the ProTour

Since any more detail on the Aussie team under Shane Bannan is vague for now, I wanted to review the broader concept behind the Aussie squad, namely that we are seeing the emergence of several national teams. In an age when the sport is supposed to be moving towards attracting global brands, we are seeing … Read more

Wikileaks and the Kazakhs

All the storm over the recent diplomatic documents Wikileaks doesn’t surprise me, but it’s just interesting to see things put in black and white text. A bit like someone’s private, off-the-record thoughts being transcribed and made very public. It’s embarrassing. Some recent documents touch on the small world of pro cycling. Two “cables” from US … Read more

Vinokourov the filmstar?

Playing the fool Alexander Vinokourov is to star in a French-produced film backed by Kazakh money. Vino will play… Vino, in this case Alexander Vinogradov, the tale of a champion making his way from Kazakhstan to France and then onwards and upwards through the hierarchy of the sport. According to French website cyclismag.fr, the film … Read more

Team Sky vs Great Britain?

A conflict of interest It’s hard to know where Team Sky ends and where British Cycling and its Olympic aspirations begin. An article over at velonews.com, in turn taking up an article in the British newspaper The Guardian, suggests it’s something that now concerns the British government (and I’ve got memories of London’s Cycling Weekly … Read more