The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Licence Commision has ruled that Saxo Bank can retain its WorldTour licence through the 2012 season.

The Danish team’s status in the sport’s top flight had been called into question after its star rider, Alberto Contador, had his 2011 results annulled after being found guilty of a doping infringement. Contador’s points accounted for 68% of Saxo Bank’s total – teams must meet a minimum requirement of points based on race results to join the WorldTour.

The UCI had lodged a request with the Licence Commision to review Saxo Bank’s status, and the commision found in Bjarne Riis’s team’s favour. According to a UCI statement, the commission ruled that “the special circumstances of the case… did not in themselves justify the withdrawal of the licence granted on 18 November”.

UCI president Pat McQuaid commented: ”[The] UCI followed the correct procedure in accordance with the rules. The Licence Commission carried out its work and took its decision in an entirely independent manner and therefore we accept this ruling in a serene manner.”

Saxo Bank’s current licence runs until 31 December 2012. A new, 2013 licence application would need to meet the licence requirements in order to be accepted.

Contador was suspended from competition for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February after a protracted process. The Spaniard had tested positive for banned substance clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, but was subsequently cleared by the Spanish Cycling federation.

CAS banned Contador after the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency had appealed against the Spanish Cycling Federation’s decision to clear Contador. CAS imposed a back-dated suspension, and anulled all of Contador’s results since and including the 2010 Tour de France. This included 2011 Giro d’Italia stages and overall; 2011 Tour of Murica stages and overall; and wins at the 2012 Tour of San Luis.

The suspension will end on August 5 2012. 

Contador was signed to Saxo Bank from the Astana squad after the 2010 Tour de France, but before news of his positive test emerged.

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Contador banned for two years after clenbuterol positive

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  • Ken Evans

    Such situations are likely to arise again in future,
    the UCI needs to have agreed rules for such matters.

    I agree that Saxo should be replaced with another team for 2012,
    Riis knew about Contador’s doping issues long ago,
    he has had a long time to secure points using other riders.

  • mick

    money talks….

    rules are for the minor teams to apply, and for the major teams to bend.
    my trust in the UCI is minimal at best….
    this was a great chance to get rider peer pressure to bear down on drug abusers, one rider caught, the whole team is out. like I say money talks, if you’re not riding you are not earning.

  • The Bolton Bullet

    FIX .END OF. Quel surprise Rodney. The sad thing is – no one IS in the least bit surprised. How can a team with nowhere near enough points[run by a -belatedly- self confessed doper] be allow….oh forget it! like said Quel surprise…..
    Agree with mike re Europcar, by the way….

  • Mike

    Rules? Ha……who needs them?
    What about a decent team like Europcar that lit up the Tour last year. It is criminal that they do not have a full Pro Tour licence, when Riis and his boys are alowed to continue, despite the so called rules being broken.