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Must Reads: Vacansoleil could lose ProTeam license; CAS to hear Passport challenges; Euser set for Euro’ starts

NouvelObs.com: UCI to reconsider Vacansoleil’s ProTeam license Following Riccardo Ricco’s reported confession of blood doping, which could lead to a lifetime ban for the Italian rider, the UCI may pull Vacansoleil’s ProTeam license. Ricco brought a significant number of points to the team’s Sporting Criteria ranking, ensuring the team…

NouvelObs.com: UCI to reconsider Vacansoleil’s ProTeam license

Following Riccardo Ricco’s reported confession of blood doping, which could lead to a lifetime ban for the Italian rider, the UCI may pull Vacansoleil’s ProTeam license. Ricco brought a significant number of points to the team’s Sporting Criteria ranking, ensuring the team its ProTeam status. UCI president Pat McQuaid told Reuters that the UCI licensing board would meet to take up the issue. If the team was relegated to Pro Continental status, McQuaid said, another team would not be elevated to take its place among the ProTeams. Meanwhile, Vacansoleil is not racing Ezequiel Mosquera, who is being investigated for doping at last year’s Vuelta. The team announced Friday that, although Mosquera is not suspended, he will not race until the issue is settled.

CAS: Hearings scheduled for De Bonis and Pellizotti

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has scheduled hearings for Francesco de Bonis and Franco Pellizotti, who are each challenging the UCI’s Biological Passport. In 2009, suspicious passport data caused the UCI to target De Bonis for additional testing, which led to a positive test for CERA-EPO. Pellizotti also was flagged for a suspicious passport, but the Italian federation cleared him. The UCI has appealed that to CAS. CAS will hold a hearing on De Bonis’ case on February 25 and on Pellizotti’s case on March 2.

Napa Valley Register: Euser set for Euro’ starts

Lucas Euser will start his 2011 European season with Team SpiderTech later this month. Euser, who attended Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, will start the Tropheo Laigueglia on Saturday, followed by Giro di Sardegna on February 22.

South Africa Info: MTN Qhubeka the team to beat in Tour of South Africa

The MTN Qhubeka team, led by former RadioShack rider Daryl Impey, is the favorite for a win at the new Tour of South Africa. Besides Impey, the team boasts Dennis van Niekerk, who recently finished fourth overall at the Tour of Langkawi. Europcar and Team Type 1 also are on the line-up. The eight-day, seven-stage race starts Saturday.

Team Type 1 for Tour of South Africa:

The American team is bringing a six-rider squad to the Tour of South Africa: Fabio Calabria (AUS), Will Dugan (USA), Joe Eldridge (USA), Alexey Shmidt (RUS), Scott Stewart (USA) and Martijn Verschoor (NED).

Team Type 1 director Michael Carter said the race “will be hot and windy, with what looks on paper like a lot of hills in between.”

“Joe, Martijn and Alexey will be hunting for sprint opportunities, and they’ve been racing together for the last year, and have a strong team kick in a bunch sprint.  They showed this last week in Mumbai, with Joe reading an escape perfectly and Martijn finishing top-10. Scott Stewart comes in from a solid training block in Italy, and Will has been in California and has prepared with some regional races. Fabio is already in mid-season form, coming off Aussie national champs where he took the sprinters’ jersey,” said Carter.