Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank has finally been granted a ProTour licence for 2013. There had been fears that next year’s biggest races would not feature Saxo-Bank and their star rider Alberto Contador, after the Danish team failed to make the grade for their WorldTour licence, leaving them fighting for wildcard places and individual invites to the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and Tour de France.
However one teams gain is another’s loss, as Saxo-Bank’s place has only now been guaranteed because Russian team Katusha has had their ProTour status declined by the International Cycling Union (UCI). Something of a mystery surrounds Katusha’s failure to make the grade (they finished second in the Tour standings this year behind Team Sky) with the UCI economically and enigmatically stating, ‘The request from the team Katusha for registration in the first division has been rejected.’
The UCI award team points for ProTour status 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. Saxo Bank had initially found themselves lacking in no small part due to Contador’s ban for clenbuterol use.