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The 2011 UCI ProTeams have been announced, Cofidis and Geox-TMC will be second division teams - comments

Added: thursday 25 November 2010 at 0:11:00
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    The 2011 UCI ProTeams have been announced, Cofidis and Geox-TMC will be second division teams - commentsIn the list of UCI ProTeams which the UCI published in a short press release Monday night, it's easy to see that the French team Cofidis, le crédit en ligne and the Spanish team Geox-TMC (the new name of the former Footon-Servetto team, which has changed quite a lot during the inter-season) are missing and that those two teams will thus be known as Continental Pro teams.

    In 2011, 18 teams will be on the list of UCI ProTeams which guarantees them a participation in the races which are part of the UCI WorldTour 2011.

    The 18 ProTeams in 2011

    On 2 November, the UCI already announced 4 ProTeams for 2011: Rabobank Cycling Team, Garmin-Cervélo, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Sky ProCycling.

    UCI WorldTourFor 6 other teams, it was quite sure they would also be on this list in 2011, simply because they still had a running licence. This concerned the AG2R-La Mondiale, Garmin-Cervélo (formerly known as Garmin-Transitions and now merged with a part of the Cervélo TestTeam), Katusha, Lampre-ISD (formerly known as Lampre-Farnese Vini), Omega-Pharma Lotto, Quick Step Cycling Team, Rabobank Cycling Team, Saxo Bank SunGard (formerly known as Team Saxo Bank), Sky ProCycling and Team Radioshack.

    To this list, 8 other teams were to be added. According to UCI's new selection criteria, 5 of them were almost sure to be part of it since they were in the top 15 of the teams ranking based on sports value: Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project (the new team from Luxembourg with the Schleck brothers and many other riders and for which the main sponsor is still not known ... rumours say that the team will start without a main sponsor but with only several "small" sponsors), HTC-Highroad (formerly known as HTC-Columbia), Liquigas-Cannondale, Vacansoleil Palmans-DCM Pro Cycling Team (formerly known as Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team, that was much easier!), Pro Team Astana, Movistar Team (formerly known as Caisse d'Epargne) and BMC Racing Team.

    For the 3 last places, there were 5 candidates (since the teams which are below the 20th place are excluded by default): Euskaltel-Euskadi (16), Geox-TMC (17), Quick Step Cycling Team (18), Cofidis Le Crédit en ligne (19) and AG2R La Mondiale (20). Finally Geox-TMC and Cofidis Le Crédit en ligne will not be part of the elite following a decision of the UCI License Committee.

    For Geox-TMC this is quite disappointing because, while the Footon-Servetto team really didn't deserve its place in the UCI ProTour but simply inherited it from the Saunier-Duval team, the team has changed a lot during the inter-season (especially with riders like Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) joining the team).

    The list of 2011 UCI ProTeams thus looks as follows:
    • AG2R La Mondiale (France) (until 2012)
    • BMC Racing Team (United States) (until 2014)
    • Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spain) (until 2012)
    • Garmin-Cervélo (United States)
    • HTC-High Road (United States) (until 2014)
    • Katusha (Russia)
    • Lampre-ISD (Italy) (until 2013)
    • Liquigas-Cannondale (Italy) (until 2014)
    • Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project (Luxembourg) (until 2014)
    • Movistar Team (Spain) (until 2013)
    • Omega Pharma-Lotto (Belgium)
    • Pro Team Astana (Kazakhstan) (until 2013)
    • Quick Step Cycling Team (Belgium)
    • Rabobank Cycling Team (The Netherlands)
    • Saxo Bank SunGard (Denmark)
    • Sky ProCycling (Great-Britain) (until 2013)
    • Team Radioshack (United States)
    • Vacansoleil Palmans-DCM Pro Cycling Team (The Netherlands) (until 2013)
    The teams which will be a first time UCI ProTeam are Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project (new team), BMC Racing Team and Vacansoleil Palmans-DCM Pro Cycling Team.

    The commments following the announcement of the UCI ProTeams selection

    The different teams and riders which are concerned by this decision of course commented UCI's announcement.

    Not surprisingly, the teams which are part of the selection of 18 of course indicate they deserve this spot while the teams who're not part of it don't agree with that ...

    Let's start with the losers ...

    Mauro Gianetti, manager of the Geox-TMC team, indicated to CyclingNews: Carlos Sastre is the only Tour de France winner since 1996 not to be involved in a doping scandal and yet that's been ignored and the only thing that matter seems to be the points riders have scored in the last two years

    Riccardo RiccoRiccardo Riccò
    (photo) caused huge damage by testing positive during the Tour de France. It cost me a major sponsor and stopped another sponsor coming into the sport. So how can the points he scored in 2010 after making a quick comeback, be more important that what Sastre or Denis Menchov has achieved? (Mauro Gianetti of course points towards the Vacansoleil Palmans-DCM Pro Cycling Team which contracted Riccò and which is part of the happy few).

    The UCI isn't coherent. Its decision gives the message that the important thing isn't ethics but points. That's crazy. And they don't seem worried about how those points are earned. They seem to accept points at any price

    Concerning the impact this decision might have on the future of this team, the Italian manager declared: I don't know how both sponsors will react to this decision. I think it's terrible to treat new sponsors this way. Both companies have international markets and wanted to ride all the major races, around the world, to promote their brands.

    Now we're going to have to hope we are invited to the major races. I hope we are, so that we can show what we can really do

    Carlos SastreCarlos Sastre has published an article on his web site in which he declares being surprised that Geox-TMC has not been included in the ProTour category for the upcoming season: I really didn't expect it and their decision has truly taken me by surprise.

    He doesn't criticise the decision however - I can't assess the criteria they have used to grant the licences as I'm not aware of the details and on what they base the selection system but he does regret it - It's disappointing in any case, as I think that cycling needs new projects, more now than ever, which is the case with Geox-TMC - it is a team that unites experience, youth and is backed by an important company that has decided to make a commitment to our sport, and not only with the professional team but also with the women's team and in organising activities for children in an attempt to regain people's enthusiasm for cycling.

    Eric Boyer, manager of the Cofidis team, commented the decision in a more fatalistic way. In La Voix du Nord he declared: I actually expected this. I have no other choice than to accept it. I'm happy to see that at least one French team keeps its place at the highest international level. But I think Cofidis was close to getting it as well. We had the 19th place in the world wide ranking while participating to a limited number of Pro Tour races. We showed we're able to finish as close as possible to the best teams.

    The former rider who's running the team from the north of France mentioned an important point concerning a possible come-back at the elite level of the international cycling next year and would like to know the participation rules for this year: (...) we can still be among the best teams next season. Even though we'll again be handicapped because we won't be invited everywhere, in the Pro Tour races in Spain, Belgium or Italy ... I really hope we'll soon know the participation rules for 2011. And I hope they won't change in the mean time.
    The solution he has in mind to get back to the highest level seems easy but also shows the perverse effect of this selection. Indeed, having realised that We didn't get any negative feedback on the economic, ethic and legal aspects his conclusion is that We're missing a real leader. To find this leader he mentions two possibilities: We'll see this spring whether one of our men is able to play this role. If not, we'll seriously get back to this question when we'll be working on next year's recruitment. In the way the UCI wants to see it ...

    And the winners ...

    Quick Step
    No one seems to have asked Patrick Lefevere to comment the fact that his team is part of the happy few ...

    Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, manager of the Basque team declared to elcorreo.com: If we wouldn't have been part of it, that would have been very disappointing for us. When you lose this status it's very difficult to get it back.

    AG2R La Mondiale
    Vincent LavenuThe manager of the only French team to be part of the UCI ProTeams next year, Vincent Lavenu, declared being relieved and proud to have been selected to be part of the first division (...) we did everything we could for it. Last year our sponsors followed us in our attempt to keep the ProTour licence and we're very happy to be confirmed among the world-wide elite. Being pushed back to the second level would have been very difficult for the team after such a good 2010 season.

    Concerning the fact that no other French teams are part of the list of UCI ProTeams, the manager of the team from Chambéry said he regrets this: We'll feel a bit lonely in the big international races if no other French teams are invited. We should not forget that what happens today with the other French teams might happen to us tomorrow. We should thus remain careful and think about how the future of cycling should look like. Anyway, the French cycling community must continue to defend its values and manage to stay at the highest possible level.

    The selection system and participation criteria for the Grands Tours

    The opacity of the selection was espacially mentioned by Mauro Gianetti of the Geox-TMC team. Pat McQuaidIn an answer to these comments, Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI declared to CyclingNews that it's a just system ... there's nothing secretive. It was a system that was explained to the teams in April and once again June. They knew the system and that's that.
    Concerning the selection of the teams positioned 16 till 20 in the sports ranking, McQuaid declared it has been done based on the combination of criteria on level, ethics, finance and administration, but he didn't give out any details ... Not sure that will make Mister Gianetti happier!

    The automatic selection ... or not for the Grand Tours
    When the creation of the UCI WorldTour was announced, the UCI declared that all 18 UCI ProTeams is invited by default in all races which are part of this calendar, including the 3 Grand Tours, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España. The creation of the UCI WorldTour thus became some sort of final result of separating the UCI ProTour races from the historical races in order to better reunite them afterwards ...

    Angelo Zomegnan, director of the Giro d'Italia than explained that RCS didn't have an agreement with the UCI for this to be the case. The UCI however seems to stick to its position since Pat McQuaid declared to CyclingNews: This guarantees that the 18 teams have places in the Grand Tours, that's what the rules say. Angelo doesn't make the rules, the UCI makes the rules and I have no doubt that it's not going to be problem. I count on Angelo to make the correct decision and knowing him he will.

    That's what we call a story ... to be continued ...

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    > 7 comments | shown 10141x

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Currently 7 comments!
  1. http://www.cyclisme-roltiss-over.com/article-uci-proteams-2011-cofidis-et-geox-tmc-en-2-eme-division-les-reactions-61689492.html

    | Roland TISSIER | thursday 25 November 2010 at 9:38:45

  2. Pour les grands tours, Zoncolan a déjà promis deux invitations aux équipes italiennes.

    | david | thursday 25 November 2010 at 11:54:39

  3. Interested to find out if the 2011 Mallorca Challenge will go ahead from 6/2/2011 - 11/2/2011.

    | John M. Thayne | friday 07 January 2011 at 21:50:42

  4. J'ai vu sur un site espagnol (je ne me rappelle plus le nom), que les équipes Cofidis, FDJ, Saur et Europcar aurait obtenu de bonnes garanties pour une invitation au Tour.

    Ce même site explique qu'ASO ne veut pas inviter Geox, du fait de la réputation de Gianetti et des résultats médiocres de Footon l'an dernier

    | david | saturday 08 January 2011 at 15:35:51

  5. Bonjour David,

    Dans votre mail N°2 du 25 novembre 2010, vous vouliez parler d'Angelo Zomegnan, et non de "Zoncolan".

    René HAMM

    | René HAMM | sunday 09 January 2011 at 10:57:18

  6. Ce sera dûr d'expliquer que menchov (3e du dernier tour), vainqueur d'1 giro et d'1 vuelta n'a pas sa place sur la plus grande course du monde.

    c'est un peu comme si djokovic n'aurait pas le droit de participer à rolland garros

    | oliv56 | monday 10 January 2011 at 0:44:25

  7. @John M. Thayne (#3) : it probably will. The 2011 Mallorca Challenge will take place from 6/2/2011 - 10/2/2011 as can be seen in the interactive UCI cycling calendar.
    I've just updated the direct links to the dedicated page on the website for each of the Trofeos. Indeed, the organisation hasn't updated it's home page, but the information is hidden on the site anyway. You can access these directly from interactive UCI cycling calendar; they're at the top of the list of all 2011 cycling races in Spain.

    | Thomas Vergouwen | saturday 15 January 2011 at 21:58:36

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