Despite suggestions in some quarters that the UCI’s ProTour is in the doldrums, there are several teams clamoring to join the sport’s top-tier for 2011.
According to information released by the UCI, no fewer than 24 teams are vying for ProTour status for the upcoming season.
Ten teams will enter the 2011 season with a valid ProTour license for the year, including RadioShack and Garmin-Transitions, while eight other teams are seeing their licenses up for renewal at the end of 2010, among them HTC-Columbia.
Another six teams are also vying for a first-time ProTour license for next year, including BMC, the new Schleck project in Luxembourg and an Australian team.
In total, 14 teams are wrangling for eight open licenses that are available. Only 18 ProTour licenses will be awarded in 2011.
“The fact that the demand exceeds supply highlights the attraction of the UCI ProTour status to teams,” the UCI said in a statement. “Only those teams fulfilling a series of very strict criteria … will be granted a license which affords the right, and obligation, to participate in all UCI ProTour events.”
The list of candidates revealed some interesting movements on the sponsorship front as well. As revealed in the past week, Geox (former Footon-Servetto) and Team Movistar (former Caisse d’Epargne) have secured sponsorship for the future.
Ex-Milram, listed as Velocity, is still angling for a license, indicating it will be on track to find a sponsor, or at least have a license if and when they do. The Luxembourg-backed project featuring the Schleck brothers is also moving forward with a ProTour license application despite not publicly revealing its backer.
Pegasus Sports, an Australian-backed effort that’s currently called Fly V Australia, is said to be close to revealing a major sponsor for the 2011 season.
UCI officials said applications will be reviewed by the License Commission during November and a definitive list will be revealed on December 10.
One major team that is choosing to remain beyond the ProTour format is Cervélo TestTeam.
The UCI also reported that 28 applications have been registered for Professional Continental status for 2011.
Eight teams requesting ProTour license renewals
- Astana (Kaz)
- Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
- Ex-Milram/Velocity (Ger)
- FDJ (Fra)
- Ex-Footon-Servetto/Geox (Spa)
- Liquigas-Doimo (Ita)
- HTC-Columbia (USA)
- Ex-Caisse d’Epargne/Team Movistar (Spa)
Six teams applying for ProTour status in 2011
- Bbox-Bouygues Telecom (Fra)
- BMC Racing (USA)
- Cofidis (Fra)
- Pegasus Sports (Aus)
- Luxembourg Cycling Project (Lux)
- Vacansoleil (Ned)
10 teams with valid ProTour licenses for 2011
- Ag2r-La Mondiale (Fra)
- Garmin-Transitions (USA)
- Lampre-Farnese Vini (Ita)
- Omega-Lotto (Bel)v
- Quick Step (Bel)
- Rabobank (Ned)
- Team Sky (GBR)
- Katusha (Rus)
- RadioShack (USA)
- Saxo Bank (Den)