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UCI rejects BBox and Cofidis ProTour renewals

By Agence France Presse

Despite impressive performances by riders like Moncoutie, Cofidis' poor rankings may have ended the team's ProTour status.

Despite impressive performances by riders like Moncoutie, Cofidis’ poor rankings may have ended the team’s ProTour status.

Photo: Graham Watson

The UCI’s Licensing Commission has renewed the four-year ProTour license of the Italian Lampre team and a granted a one-year renewal to Milram, but denied the renewal applications of Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis.

The license commission “has decided not to award a UCI ProTour license to the French teams Cofidis … and Bbox Bouygues Telecom,” the UCI said, without offering details for the refusal.

Bouygues and Cofidis, two of four French teams that competed in the ProTour in the 2009 season, are paying for their lowly world rankings (19th and 20th respectively) and the potential for financial problems, a source close to the commission said.

Both teams will, however, be assured of a starting place for next year’s Tour de France, organizers told AFP following the decision.

Cofidis includes French rider David Moncoutie, the two-time winner of the climber’s jersey at the Vuelta a España, Remi Pauriol and up-and-coming Estonian Rein Taaramae in its ranks.

Bouygues Telecom has Pierrick Fedrigo and Thomas Voeckler, both stage winners on the last Tour de France, as well as French hopes William Bonnet, Cyril Gautier and Pierre Rolland, and Russian Yury Trofimov.

Bouygues manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau was defiant despite what amounts to shocking news for his team, which has a total of 25 riders under contract.

“It will not stop us from riding and winning Tour stages,” he said. “(The UCI) spoke to us about a sporting level that was not quite high enough.”

Bernaudeau acknowledged that the decision would primarily affect the team’s presence at foreign races, the first being the Tour Down Under in Australia in January in which all ProTour teams race.

“We’ll ride a little less abroad. But French teams have already got a full national calendar.”

The UCI also announced on Tuesday that it had awarded a four-year license to the Italian Lampre team for the period 2010-2013. A second Italian team, Milram, received a licence for one year, valid in 2010.

The body, however, said it “continues to examine the file submitted by the new American team RadioShack.” A decision will be announced later.

While the Kazakh-financed Astana team’s license is valid through 2010, UCI president Pat McQuaid said last week that the commission is reviewing the team’s financial structure and reserves the right to pull the license for the coming season.

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