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Plantur-Pura is the latest team to throw its hat in the ring for the final Women’s WorldTeam spot for 2023, the squad has told VeloNews.
With 14 teams already secured for next year under the current rules, just one WorldTeam license remains for the coming season. The team, which currently races at Continental level, confirmed to VeloNews on Tuesday that it has set its sights on promotion.
Plantur-Pura is the sister team of the Alpecin-Deceuninck men’s squad that looks set to get promoted to the men’s WorldTour. The Belgian team joins Ceratizit-WNT, and AG Insurance-NXTG in applying for the final women’s license.
“We have applied for a WorldTour license. We think this fits in the evolution of the team, as we already started up in 2020 with a clear vision to grow year by year,” general manager Philip Roodhooft said in a statement to VeloNews. “However, there is only one space left for 2023, currently we’re only the second continental team in the ranking – and we can’t get to the first position anymore – so, like all other teams, we depend on others.”
“Besides, the season is not over yet. We’ll see where we end up. Whatever the outcome, it is clear already now that we’ve taken another considerable step in 2022, which is the most important. We did so thanks to some changes we’ve made after a rather disappointing 2021. But let it be clear: if the opportunity is there, we’ll take it with both hands.”
Plantur-Pura must meet a number of criteria to make a successful application for a WorldTeam license. It and the other teams applying to the UCI must hit financial, administrative, ethical, and organizational criteria first.
If after that there is more than one eligible team remaining, the decision on who will be successful will be based on their position in the UCI team standings.
Plantur-Pura is currently 12th in the UCI’s team standings and is the second-ranked Continental team, with Italian squad Valcar-Travel & Service the first. As of the beginning of this week, it has just over a 150-point advantage over the next best team Ceratizit-WNT.
Valcar-Travel & Service has not confirmed whether or not it will also make an application for the final license, though it has previously declined to do so based on the budget needed to race as a WorldTeam.
With only a few races remaining before the end of the season, the Italian squad has more than double the points of the Belgian outfit and it would be impossible to claw the gap back before the deadline. Should Valcar apply, it would easily take the final WorldTeam license.