Thrills and Chills: It's the 2013 UCI Sporting Criterion Posting!

Bryn Lennon

Who's got the inside edge on a World Tour license for 2013? Not Lotto-Belisol, Europcar and a couple other major teams.

The UCI got the ball rolling today with its points rankings, used in determining who gets a license for the 2013 World Tour. In other words, who's in the Tour de France. The top 15 are automatically considered to have met the sporting criterion. They are:

  • AG2R LA MONDIALE
  • ASTANA PRO TEAM
  • BMC RACING TEAM
  • CANNONDALE (former Liquigas)
  • EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI
  • FORMER RABOBANK
  • GARMIN SHARP
  • KATUSHA
  • LAMPRE – MERIDA
  • MOVISTAR TEAM
  • OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP
  • ORICA GREENEDGE
  • RADIOSHACKNISSAN
  • SKY PROCYCLING
  • VACANSOLEIL – DCM PRO

The sporting criteria include results of the 12 best riders from each team who are currently under contract for 2013, using results from the last two years. There's a team points element to this strange brew as well. Also, the UCI uses its own points system, a rather shallow pool of results from their World Tour calendar, so guys like Andre Greipel and his world-best 19 victories in 2012 get shunted down to 29th place overall (Gorilla was 21st at the Podium Cafe and 8th at CQRanking, which raises some SSSR eyebrows...).

I know some people were sweating out Euskaltel's presence in there. Otherwise I'm not sure there were many surprises. Who's on the fence? That would be teams 16-20, who aren't eliminated from the sporting criterion but who haven't met the sporting criterion automatically. They may still meet it based on a detailed review. Remember, there are 18 World Tour golden tickets. Here are the contenders, with their ranking (notice the first 15 aren't ranked):

16. TEAM ARGOS – SHIMANO

17. LOTTO BELISOL

18. FDJ

19. TEAM EUROPCAR

20. TEAM SAXO – TINKOFF

Two of these teams will get voted off the island... probably. Argos-Shimano and Europcar weren't World Tour last year, but the Dutch boys obviously have made their move, while Saxo-Tinkoff have predictably fallen off, even with Contador coming back at the Vuelta.

When I say two of these teams probably won't get World Tour status, I am holding out the possibility that the subsequent screenings could have a say. The UCI also screens for ethical, financial and administrative criteria. The first two are big wildcards. Does, say, Johan Bruyneel's former team meet the ethical criteria, for example? Perhaps yes, but they'll have to explain how the existing roster shouldn't be judged by the company they kept (or had foisted upon them by the sponsor) last year. I'm not suggesting much more than stay tuned. Oh, and the UCI says they will make up their minds on all of the above by Friday. See, the offseason is never all that dull.

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