Team Saxo Bank is optimistic as it awaits the UCI decision
Team Saxo Bank’s General Manager Bjarne Riis appeared before the UCI’s licensing commission on Monday to defend the World Tour license for his team.
The team had to face the disappointment after its star rider, Alberto Contador, was handed a two-year ban from professional cycling and all of his UCI points were declared void.
The Spaniard helped the team with a number of victories during his stay and earned 471 UCI points in the past season.
He grabbed the third position at the UCI World Tour rankings in the past season, with Philippe Gilbert at the first and Cadel Evans at the second place.
The Danish team secured the 9th spot with 696 points in its bag. Contador’s departure means the team is now left with only 225 points.
Bjarne Riis is confident that the team will be able to continue the 2012 season at the highest level of the sport.
“We had our hearing with the UCI's licensing committee, where we presented our case, we still feel that we have a really good case and we are waiting until the case is resolved,” Anders Damgaard told Ritzau news agency on behalf of the team.
However, the experts have hinted that there are very few chances for the team to continue its World Tour license.
Former cyclist Alex Pedersen commented on the issue, “If you look at the rules in isolation, it pretty obviously dictates that the Team Saxo Bank may lose its license”.
He also mentioned that one thing that might go in the favour of Bjarne Riis is the fact that Contador was banned in February and the season has already started.
The court not only handed him a two-year ban for using clenbuterol at the Tour de France 2010 but also stripped him off from all the victories since the incident.
Team Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Sports Director Dane Brian Holm also hopes that his rival team keeps its license for the new season.
“We are big enough competitors, but I still hope that he keeps his license. It would be a blow to Danish cycling if there was no longer a Danish team at the highest level,” he told ekstrabladet.dk.
Alberto will resume his professional pursuit with Team Saxo Bank after his return in August 2012.
Only time will tell if the Danish team continues enjoying the World Tour status during the remaining part of the season as the decision is expected in the near future.