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Amid the news of Europcar‘s denied WorldTour license and the doping scandals surrounding Astana and Neri Sottoli during the UCI’s deliberations on 2015 team licenses, Swiss outfit IAM Cycling was granted a spot at the sport’s highest level. Next season will be the first time that the two-year-old squad has raced in the first tier.
“The best Christmas present arrived at my office in Geneva several days ago in the form of a letter from the Commission of Licenses and the International Cycling Union, which announced that we would be awarded a WorldTour license for the next season,” team founder Michel Thétaz said in an IAM press release. “This is the culmination of all the work we have done since the birth of IAM Cycling.”
Though the team has yet to prove itself with a win at a grand tour, it did race the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. In 2014, IAM also claimed stage wins at Tirreno–Adriatico, Critérium International, Tour of Britain, and Vuelta a Burgos.
Its riders have also fared well in time trials, with Sylvain Chavanel winning France’s national time trial championships, and Matthias Brändle claiming Switzerland’s TT title. However, Brändle’s biggest claim to fame is that he knocked off Jens Voigt to set a new world hour record on the track in October.
Of the jump to the WorldTour level, newly-hired operational manager Rik Verbrugghe said, “IAM Cycling does not intend to overburden the riders on the team simply because we have reached this new level. In 2014, the average number of race days for the 25 pros under contract with the team amounted to 66 days. For 2015 with the WorldTour status, this figure will increase, according to our projections, 72 days, which is a quota entirely reasonable in comparison to the other teams of this level.”