Next year’s Grand Tours could be missing Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank (and therefore Alberto Contador) after the Danish team failed to make the grade for their WorldTour licence, leaving them fighting for wildcard places. The UCI award team points based, in part, on the performance of the top 12 riders and results from the two previous years although the exact criteria remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, with calls now for greater transparency from the governing body as to how such things are calculated. Under the current system Saxo Bank have certainly suffered from Contador’s ban for clenbuterol use and find themselves effectively classed as a second division squad with only wildcard chances of making the big races. The UCI’s position is made (fairly) clear in their press release which states: ‘The sporting criterion is crucial for the obtaining or retaining of UCI ProTeam status, in addition to compliance with ethical, financial and administrative criteria.’
Argos-Shimano, Lotto-Belisol, FDJ and Europcar all find themselves on the same ground as Saxo Bank going into 2013.