The Australian Pegasus Sports professional cycling team has missed out on a ProTeam licence and will register as a UCI Professional Continental team for 2011.
Pegasus Sports is expanding on its highly successful UCI Continental program which garnered 84 wins in Asia and the United States in 2010. Pegasus Sports’ highest-profile signings for 2011 include Robbie McEwen, winner of stages in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia; Svein Tuft, silver medallist in the world championship time trial; Luke Roberts, former Olympic and world champion on the track; and Robert Hunter, winner of a stage in the Tour de France.
Chris White, CEO of Pegasus Sports, said that the team had hoped to debut at the top level in 2011. “We were officially informed by the UCI today that we are not among the top 20 ranked teams, which means that we will be a Pro Continental team for 2011,” said White. “It was certainly our goal to be a ProTeam in 2011, and we are a little disappointed, but we accept the decision of the UCI. It was just a matter of sporting criteria, and other teams being ranked more highly than us. From a competition perspective, this does not change things significantly, and we will still participate at the highest level of cycling and plan to be in the biggest races in the World.”
ProTeam licenses are being awarded based on sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria, and with sporting criteria having the greatest weighting. The UCI calculated the team rankings based on the 2009 and 2010 results of the top 15 riders on the 2011 teams. Pegasus Sports was ranked 23rd in this process. The UCI stated that only teams ranked inside the top 20 on sporting performance would be considered for one of the 18 ProTeam licences.
“We had hoped to start in the top division, but we always knew this would be difficult to achieve as a first time applicant,” said White. “There are actually some benefits to us starting as a Pro Continental Team; getting a year under our belt in Europe, and then hopefully moving up to ProTeam level the following year. Other teams have successfully used this formula, and we see no reason that we can’t do the same. We are excited and proud to be the first Australian team to participate in the most important races in the world. We are in contact with several major race organizers and we are confident that we will have a great program next year and that we will achieve great things. We are also convinced of the additional value we offer in terms of our vision for the modernization of cycling and our contribution to globalizing cycling.”