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UCI updates on top team's 'sporting value' as part of ProTeam registration for 2012

Final decision in December, last three spots set to be contested by FDJ, AG2R, Europcar, Geox and Euskaltel

World cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has announced the results of its evaluation of sporting value of teams applying for top-flight ProTeam status for the 2012 season. While the registration process is not yet complete, it does provide a very strong hint of those that will be awarded or retain that status, and with it the right to participate next year in all races on the World Tour Calendar.

The sporting value is calculated on a number of criteria, including what the UCI describes as "ethical, financial and administrative" ones, as well as the accumulated ranking points accrued over the past two seasons by riders contracted to each team for 2012, as long as they signed prior to 20 October this year.

The top 15 teams by sporting value, which should subsequently have their ProTeam status confirmed, are in alphabetical order:

• Astana Pro Team
• BMC Racing Team
• Garmin-Cervélo
• GreenEdge Cycling Team
• Katusha Team
• Lampre-ISD
• Liquigas – Cannondale
• Lotto Cycling Project
• Movistar Team
• Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
• Rabobank
• RadioShack-Nissan
• Saxo Bank Sungard
• Sky Procycling
• Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team

That leaves three places open, which under UCI rules will go to three of the teams occupying 16th to 20th place in the sporting criterion. At the moment, those are the French teams, AG2R La Mondiale, FDJ and Europcar, which are respectively placed 16th, 18th and 20th, plus two Spanish outfits, Geox-TMC and Euskaltel-Euskadi.

The latter have both been in the news in recent days amid concerns over their future. Last week, Italian footwear company Geox announced it was ending sponsorship of that team, leaving its future uncertain, while Euskaltel’s backing of the Basque team ends next year and the telecommunications company is reportedly uncertain about whether to renew.

Of those five teams, AG2R and Euskaltel-Euskadi both raced under ProTeam licences in 2011.  Two licences have been freed up this year by the departure of HTC-Highroad from the peloton, plus the merger between RadioShack and Leopard Trek, with the new RadioShack-Nissan team taking on the Luxembourg-based team’s licence.

One of those spots appears likely to go to the new Australian team, GreenEdge. The split between Omega Pharma and Lotto has no net effect on licences – Lotto retains the licence the team raced under this year, while Omega Pharma’s sponsorship moves to Belgium’s other ProTeam, Quick Step.

The UCI says that it will provide an update on the registration process for ProTeam and second division Professional Continental status following the deadline of 1 November.

Missing from the list revealed today is one team that had applied for ProTeam registration, current Professional Continental outfit Skil-Shimano. The Dutch team, which has not yet announced the identity of the title sponsor it is bringing in to replace Skil, had applied under the codename Project 1t4i.

Any teams not otherwise mentioned that have applied for a ProTeam licence will be evaluated separately, although the UCI underlines that only those in the top 20 by sporting value can secure such status.

The governing body adds that the first decisions of the UCI License Commission announced on 20 December and the final decisions on 10 December.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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