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The selection procedure of the UCI ProTeams explained - infographic!

Added: sunday 09 December 2012 at 20:23:00
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    The selection procedure of the UCI ProTeams explained - infographic!We're still waiting for the list of 18 UCI ProTeams for 2013 to be announced (one shouldn't think that is surprising since the final official list is always announced in the second week of December and the UCI always announced 10 December as the official date for the 2013 list; what is surprising however is that the UCI didn't announce any early decisions around 26 November as they promised during the selection procedure), but we should soon find out which teams will be part of the top level teams in 2013.

    While we're waiting for that final list, velowire.com thought it would be a good idea to have a more detailed look at the selection procedure since all aspects of it don't seem to be clear for many people! This article's infographic* is trying to give you a better idea about how it works and why some teams have to defend their licence before the licence commission while others don't.

    How are the teams selected?

    We could resume the answer to this question quickly by saying that the selection is based on 4 criteria: sporting, financial, ethical and administrative. Things are however a bit more complicated ...

    Indeed, only 18 teams can be a UCI ProTeam every year and there are potentially more candidates. Therefore, some rules exist concerning these criteria to get to a selection of 18 teams.

    Let's start first with a look at the infographic* on the teams selection which should allow you to more easily understand what's explained further on in this article (click on it to zoom in and click on the arrows in the lower right corner to see it full size if necessary):
    The licence request procedure for UCI ProTeams - © velowire.com
    The licence request procedure for UCI ProTeams - © velowire.com

    When reading this infographic, please make sure you read it from left to right and from top to bottom for the right part of it.

    Registration or application?

    Any team (existing or newly created) can request a UCI ProTeam licence. Three cases exist :
    - If a team still has a valid UCI ProTeam licence, it will simply request for registration of the team as a UCI ProTeam for the next year (the teams above the red separator at the center of the infographic); this has to be done every year, no matter the validity period of the corresponding UCI ProTeam licence. This allows to exclude teams with real bad behaviour for example instead of allowing them to go on without at any time being assessed during the whole validity period of the UCI ProTeam licence
    - If a team has a UCI ProTeam licence which expires at the end of the year which precedes the year for which a UCI ProTeam licence is requested (contrary to the UCI cycling calendar which starts in October for some of the continental calendars, the UCI ProTeam registration is valid for a calendar year just like the UCI WorldTour runs over a calendar year period), it submits an application (renewal doesn't give you any additional rights compared to a team which asks for a licence for the first time)
    - If a team doesn't have a UCI ProTeam licence, it also submits an application
    The latter two categories are below the red separator.

    Sporting criterion

    The first criterion which gets evaluated, and which can already be eliminatory by itself, is the sporting criterion. A complex calculation, based on the top 12 riders of each teams which has applied for a UCI ProTeam licence, allows to know the sporting value of each of the teams. The Inner Ring ran an article on this a few weeks ago, giving some insight in how the points are calculated.

    Based on that, all teams are ranked from 1 to N where N is the number of teams taken into account for this calculation.

    We should keep in mind that the UCI regulations say that there can be no more than 18 UCI ProTeams. Therefore, if N is much higher than 18, many of them will have to be refused during the selection procedure.
    The sporting value is the first step in this selection process. Indeed, if your ranking is 21 or above, you are automatically refused a UCI ProTeam licence since only the first 20 are allowed to go on** (the first red NOK in the infographic).

    For the teams which are ranked 1 to 15, article 2.15.011b says:
    • A team ranked in the first fifteen places of the classification on the basis of sporting level is by this fact considered to have satisfied the sporting criterion.

    Therefore, there's no further evaluation of this criterion for these teams (the first green OK in the infographic).

    For the teams ranked between the 16th and the 20th place, the licence commission will verify whether the sporting criterion is satisfied, taking into account things like injuries to riders, the types of events which the team has ridden and the more vague homogeneity of the team.

    The licence commission and the other criteria

    Very often, people are surprised that a team has to defend its licence request before the licence commission. This year this was the case for example for Garmin-Sharp as Jonathan Vaughters expressed in his Tweet below:

    Let's have a more detailed look at that question. In addition to the sporting criterion, two other criteria are evaluated by the administration of the UCI: the ethical and the administrative criteria. In addition to that, auditors approved by the UCI (as far as I remember this has always been and still is Ernst & Young) evaluate the financial criterion. The infographic tells you what aspects are being assessed for these points.

    So who has to defend its licence request before the licence commission?
    Three groups of teams actually:
    1/ teams which submitted an application, that is those who apply for a licence for the first time or those which are up for renewal, no matter which ranking they obtained for the sporting criterion (above or beneath the 16th place treshold; as long as they have a ranking above 21)
    2/ teams which have a ranking for the sporting criterion between 16 and 20, whether they submitted an application or a simple registration request
    3/ teams which have met the sporting criterion (among the 15 first places) but which represent non-conformities in the file they submitted for registration

    Garmin-Sharp was in the first category of teams so there was nothing wrong with their application and that's probably what bothered Vaughters when he was asked why his team had to come before the licence commission.

    The licence commission than takes a decision based on the 4 criteria (or on the 3 remaining criteria for the third category since they are supposed to have met the sporting criterion), thus bringing back the number of teams which are registered as a UCI ProTeam each year to the maximum of 18 (or less).

    If the licence commission takes a decision about a UCI ProTeam which still has a valid licence (above the red line), it will simply decide about next year's registration. If it decides about a UCI ProTeam which is up for renewal of its licence or a team which is applying for a UCI ProTeam licence and didn't have one the year previous to the one which is being decided for, it will decide about the UCI ProTeam licence being awarded or not. If it awards a licence, it automatically also proceeds to the registration of the team for the next year.

    A UCI ProTeam licence is awarded for 4 years, except in two cases:
    - if the team has asked to limit the duration to 2 or 3 years (a team can not ask to limit it to 1 year only); the team has to ask for such a limitation in its application and has to motivate its request
    - if one or more of the 4 criteria lead the commission to think it's better to not award a 4 year licence; in this case the commission has to argument its decision about the reduction of the duration and it can reduce the licence duration to 1, 2 or 3 years

    The calendar for the selection procedure

    A specific calendar exists for the application or request for registration of a UCI ProTeam licence. This calendar is explained in the table below:
    1 August Y-1Each UCI ProTeam with a licence valid for the year Y and each applicant has to submit to the UCI the text of the bank guarantee (FR/EN/IT/ES) and the model of the contract(s) with its riders (FR/EN), for information only.

    On this day, the transfer period for riders starts as well and will go on until 31 December Y-1.
    1 October Y-1The UCI ProTeam or applicant must submit to the UCI a complete file with many informations, including the details of at least 10 signed riders contracts
    a few days laterThe UCI publishes on its website the list of UCI ProTeams or licence applicants which have submitted a registration file containing all the essential documents. This is done to clarify the situation for all parties since riders have the right to terminate their contract if they realise at that date that their (future) team has not correctly submitted its registration file
    15 October Y-1At this date, the number of contracts with riders must at least be 20
    1 November Y-1The registration files of all teams have been analysed by the UCI administration and by the auditors appointed by the UCI (Ernst&Young) for the financial criterion. The UCI administration submits the different files and reports to the licence commission if necessary. For all UCI ProTeams with a valid licence for which the file is OK on all 4 criteria, the registration is done immediately.
    a few days laterThe UCI publishes on its website the list of UCI ProTeams which have been registered on 1 November and the list of teams which have to defend their registration request (and/or licence application) before the licence commission.
    20 November Y-1The licence commission must render its decision. It will render its decision as fast as possible but at least before this date.
    1 December Y-1At this date, all riders contracts must be submitted. Their number must be at least 23 but can be up to 30 depending on the number of new professionals
    1 January YThe 18 UCI ProTeams licence registration become into effect and will remain so (except if a licence is revoked by the licence commission for an important reason in the mean time) until 31 December Y.

    How does this work out for 2013

    Now let's have a look at how this works out for next year's UCI ProTeam registrations.

    First and foremost, we must observe that as per article 2.15.218 of the UCI regulations
    • The hearings of the licence commission are not held in public. The deliberations of the commission are held in camera

    Therefore, we can of course only base our analysis for 2013 on the different UCI press releases:
    1 August 2012No public information available
    1 October 2012No public information available
    3 October 2012The UCI published on its website the list of UCI ProTeams or licence applicants which have submitted a registration file containing all the essential documents:
    - 6 teams asked either for a renewal of their UCI ProTeam licence or applied for one: renewal for AG2R LA MONDIALE, EUSKALTEL EUSKADI, GARMIN SHARP, RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM, TEAM SAXO – TINKOFF and a new application by TEAM ARGOS – SHIMANO
    15 October 2012No public information available
    29 October 2012In anticipation of the 1 November deadline, the UCI published on its website the results of the evaluation of the sporting criterion.

    As usual, the 15 best ranked teams were announced in alphabetical order and the 5 teams ranked 16 till 20 were specifically mentioned with their ranking: 16/ TEAM ARGOS – SHIMANO, 17/ LOTTO BELISOL, 18/ FDJ, 19/ TEAM EUROPCAR and 20/ TEAM SAXO – TINKOFF

    Knowing that Team Europcar didn't request a UCI ProTeam licence, this left the licence commission with 19 potential teams for the UCI ProTeam status and a maximum of 18 which can be awarded. Indeed, even though Lotto Belisol was not on the list announced on 3 October, they must have submitted their registration request after the deadline of 1 October.
    1 November 2012No public information available
    2 November 2012Following the 1 November deadline, the UCI published on its website the list of UCI ProTeams which have been registered on 1 November and their nationality (Astana Pro Team (KAZ), BMC Racing Team (USA), Cannondale (ITA), Lampre – Merida (ITA), Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team (BEL), ORICA GreenEdge (AUS), Sky ProCycling (GBR), Vacansoleil DCM Pro Cycling Team (NED)). These are the 8 teams which still had a valid licence, which were among the 15 first ranked teams and which according to the UCI and Ernst&Young's reports have passed the 3 other criteria.

    The UCI also published the list of teams which have to defend their registration request (and/or licence application) before the licence commission:
    - because of licence renewal: AG2R La Mondiale, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Garmin Sharp, Former Rabobank and Team Saxo-Tinkoff (5 teams)
    - because it's a candidate team coming from the second division: Team Argos-Shimano (1 team)
    - because of their sporting value which had them ranked between 16th and 20th position: FDJ and Lotto Belisol (2 teams)
    - because the UCI administration decided it was unable to register the following UCI ProTeams (the red "non-conformities in the file" in the infographic): Katusha, Movistar Team and RadioShackNissan
    20 November 2012No public information available
    28 November 2012In its communication on 2 November, the UCI announced that Shortly after November 26th, the UCI will communicate a first series of decisions of the Licence Commission concerning the awarding of first division licences and registration in first or second division.

    However, on 28 November the UCI published new information on its website but it only contained information about second division registrations, not about UCI ProTeams. It did however confirm that the licence commission will render its decision concerning the awarding of the UCI ProTeam Licences (first division) on 10th December.
    1 December 2012No public information available
    10 December 2012On this date the teams waiting for a decision of the licence commission (one team has to be dropped) will thus know the final decision. The list of UCI ProTeams for 2013 will most probably be published on the UCI website on this date or in the following days.
    1 January 2013The 18 UCI ProTeams licence registration will come into effect and will remain so (except if a licence is revoked by the licence commission for an important reason in the mean time) until 31 December 2013.

    So ... the UCI has reconfirmed on 26 November that the final decisions will be taken on 10 December, but isn't that a bit late? Indeed, I think I'm not the only one who reads in the UCI's own cycling regulations:
    • The commission shall render its decision as rapidly as possible and, as far as possible before 20 November prior to the first year of the licence

    OK, so that's for applicants only, but that at least means that the status of Team Argos-Shimano should be known already and it isn't! There is no single information about the deadline for the teams which have to come before the licence commission for other reasons ... Jérémy Roy recently explained in L'Equipe what impact such late decisions can have on a team and on its riders (if a team doesn't get the UCI ProTeam status it'll most probably have to let go one or more of its riders and they will have quite a difficult time in finding a new team!).

    * since the procedure is quite complex it has finally become more info than graphic, but I think this will make it easier to understand anyway
    ** a team can still apply for a UCI Pro Continental licence (second division) though or even for a UCI Continental licence (third division)
    *** the maximum number of riders in a UCI ProTeam is 28 if the team doesn't have any new professionals; in case of 1 new professional the maximum number of riders goes up to 29 and if the team has 2 to 5 new professionals (5 being the maximum number of new professionals for a UCI ProTeam!) the maximum number of riders is 30

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: UCI ProTour| Cycling general (except Tour de France) | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 4 comments!
  1. .... and what is the sanction against the UCI for being so late on it's agenda? A fine? It must be intolerable to sponsors and suppliers to not know what the status of their team is until the last minute.

    | pugdog | sunday 09 December 2012 at 21:35:35

  2. Thank you for posting the great content…I was looking for something like this…I found it quiet interesting, hopefully you will keep posting such blogs….Keep sharing

    | indoor cycling dvd | monday 10 December 2012 at 8:00:39

  3. Bonjour,

    Merci Thomas pour cet excellent article qui explique bien le problème que pose l'UCI aux équipes et aux coureurs. J'espère que la FDJ sera une proteam l'année prochaine, puisque déjà que Bernaudeau ne veut pas y voir Europcar à l'heure actuelle (en même temps cela se comprend, pourquoi dépensé l'argent qu'on a pas pour embaucher et partir à l'autre bout du monde pour faire des courses exotiques récentes qui n'ont pas le charme du Langkawi).

    En plus je trouve cela abhérant de prendre en compte les points de tous les coureurs et toutes les équipes alors qu'en worldtour seules les proteams peuvent marquer des points, après il ne faut pas s'étonner que l'année dernière Saxo-bank et AG2R ont embauché n'importe qui (qui ne sont déjà plus dans l'effectif) et que cette année c'est Euskaltel qui fait de même.

    Je souhaiterais savoir si AG2R est enregistrée puisque l'équipe ne la mentionne pas comme équipe dans l'attente ?

    | Aurélien M. | monday 10 December 2012 at 9:03:42

  4. @pugdog: since there's no official deadline mentioned in the UCI regulations, I'm afraid .. there's no sanction either. Apart from making themselves look a little bit more ridiculous of course.

    @Aurélien : merci :-). En ce qui concerne l'équipe AG2R La Mondiale, ci-dessus elle est bien indiquée parmi les équipes à passer devant la Commission des Licences (puisqu'il s'agit d'une demande de renouvellement) mais comme elle figure parmi les 15 équipes les mieux classées pour le critère sportif elle a de fortes chances de passer si le reste de son dossier est en règle (et il n'y a pas vraiment de raison de croire qu'il ne le soit pas).

    | Thomas Vergouwen | monday 10 December 2012 at 11:51:53

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