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Deceuninck will take over as co-title sponsor of the team, while Fenix will remain a partner and be prominently displayed on the back of the team’s shorts. Deceuninck has a contractual agreement with the cycling squad through the end of the 2025 season.
The team hopes to move to WorldTeam status for 2023, having been the top-ranked ProTeam since 2019. There are three levels of UCI teams: Continental, ProTeam, and WorldTeam.
“We want – and need – to professionalize even more, and need to expand the basis of our success. We are now ninth in the three-year team ranking and we will also accept the associated WorldTour license,” the team said in a statement Monday.
Deceuninck had been linked with the Quick-Step squad from 2019 through 2021. It joined Alpecin as a partner for the first half of 2022.
The financial security of bringing on a sponsor like Deceuninck satisfies a UCI requirement of teams in the WorldTour.
“The WorldTour is the next logical step for the team. We see it as a consequence of the growth we have had,” said team manager Philip Roodhooft. “It is also not easy to win the UCI ProTeam ranking every year. We are now the best twice in a row, but this also creates a certain pressure. We’re not afraid of pressure but this gives us a chance to work on the longer term.”
Roodhooft indicated that in 2020, with the dissolution of CCC Team, a vacancy at the WorldTeam level became available, but the Alpecin squad was not ready at the time.
“Two years ago there was already an opportunity to take over a WorldTour license after CCC stopped, but we weren’t ready then. We wanted to grow in an organic way. However, we are now seventh in the UCI Team ranking, based on the last two seasons. We feel the time is right,” said Roodhooft.
Star rider Van der Poel was candid when asked his opinion about the move from ProTour to WorldTour.
“It’s quite important for sure,” Van der Poel said. “In my opinion, we are already at the level of the WorldTour, but it’s easier just to be in it.
“I’ve never really had a problem with being ProTour, but I think we’ve shown as a team already we have our place in the WorldTour and now it’s official. It’s good to be part of it, of course,” he said.
— Atlanta Rouleur Collection (@AtlantaRouleur) May 16, 2022