Team TJ Sport's plans to become the first Chinese WorldTour team remain up in the air

Team TJ Sport have been granted an extension by the UCI to complete their application to register as a WorldTour team for the 2017 season.

The UCI announced on Friday that the new team’s request for “WorldTeam status is still under review by the Licence Commission”. The sport’s governing body didn’t give any details, and told CW that they don’t comment on “ongoing procedures”.

Licences are examined according to four different criteria: administrative, ethical, financial and sporting. There is no suggestion, however, that Team TJ, who would be the first ever Chinese team to compete at the highest level in the sport, has failed any of the requirements.

In a statement Lampre-Merida, the team who Team TJ are replacing, said that they have “previously requested and was granted an extension by the UCI to complete the documentation relating to the registration dossier as Team World Tour.

“The extension was held by the leadership necessary to provide the fullest possible form [for] all the documents and prepare a dossier so that it adheres perfectly to the parameters required by the UCI. The team will hold updated enthusiasts and insiders with updates.”

There are 17 other teams, including Dimension Data who feared relegation and the two newcomers, Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain-Merida, have been granted a WorldTour licence for the following two seasons.

The team have retained most of the 2016 Lampre-Merida squad, and also recruited British sprinter Ben Swift from Team Sky. 

Partnership with Merida, however, has ceased, with the Taiwanese bike brand supplying bikes and sponsoring the Bahrain project. Italian brand Colnago is to provide bikes to TJ Sport.