Paolo Bettini’s contract as Italian coach expires at the year, which leaves him open for a spot on Fernando Alonso’s team. Italian media, despite the team’s strong performance, indicate Bettini could be on the move.

Alonso failed to rescue Euskaltel but said he wants to begin a team in 2015. Perhaps in preparation, he visited the Florence Worlds, spoke with Bettini on the team’s bus and stopped by the Mapei training centre in Varese.

Fabrizio Borra could broker the possible Bettini deal, according to Italy’s Tutto Sport newspaper. Borra was Bettini’s physiotherapist before working with Alonso.

“I’d like to continue this role,” Bettini told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on Monday. “It’s an honour to represent your country.” However, troubles existed (or exist) between Bettini and the Italian cycling federation. It considered Max Sciandri as a replacement already. If Bettini leaves, possibly to help Alonso, it has Michele Bartoli, Davide Cassani and Maurizio Fondriest in line.

Europcar aims for WorldTour spot

French team, Europcar aims to enter the WorldTour in 2014. Its general manager, Jean-René Bernaudeau said yesterday that he would apply for the vacant 18th spot in the first division.

“We filed the documents,” Bernaudeau told French newspaper Sud Ouest. “We just need to wait for the decision now.”

Vacansoleil and Euskaltel are leaving the WorldTour, dropping the number of first division teams from 19 to 17. The UCI prefers 18 ProTeams, though last year it let in Katusha after it won its appeal case.

Cycling Weekly understands that Europcar is the only team applying for the spot. The UCI was unable to confirm this when contacted.

Wanty helps save team Vacansoleil

Hilaire van der Schueren, sports director at Vacansoleil, confirmed he is creating a new team. In an interview with Dutch TV station, NOS, he said that the team would be second division with funding from sponsor Wanty.

Van der Schueren is working to confirm the contracts of stars Björn Leukemans, Juan Antonio Flecha and Thomas De Gendt. His team’s budget is reported to be between €2.5 and 3 million.

Olympic Committee takes Armstrong’s bronze

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday that it received Lance Armstrong’s bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics. It demanded it back 10 months ago after an investigation found him guilty of doping through his career.

“Armstrong sent it to the US Olympic Committee on September 12 and we received it a few days later,” IOC spokesperson Nadia Bonjour told AFP news agency. “It’s in a vault.”

UCI pushes for two-year ban in Georges case

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is pushing for a two-year ban for Frenchman Sylvain Georges. The former Ag2r-La Mondiale rider tested positive for a stimulate Heptaminol in the Giro d’Italia and received a six-month ban from his national federation.

“I don’t understand the UCI,” Georges said, according to Cyclism’Actu. “The French federation recognised my negligence, but apparently the UCI thinks the ban is too little. I’ve already paid quite a bit for my error.”

The UCI, according to the AFP, appealed the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.