Roche faces anxious wait
CYCLING:The chances of Nicolas Roche riding in the top events will be determined by the UCI issuing a ProTeam licence to his new new Saxo-Tinkoff squad.
Ag2r La Mondiale, Roche’s squad this season, were one of 18 with a ProTeam licence status and, as a result, were automatically given entry to WorldTour events.
It meant the team was certain to ride the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, plus other key events.
However with a team’s hierarchy in the UCI points ranking determining its chances of getting a licence and his new Saxo-Tinkoff squad sitting 20th, there is speculation they might be passed over.
The issue is that their leader, Vuelta winner Alberto Contador, cannot contribute any points to the team’s ranking as he returned from a doping suspension this year, and so the team are much further down the list than would otherwise be the case.
While Contador’s strength would likely guarantee the team a wildcard from organisers of most races, it could lose out on invites to other events where he does not compete.
Roche is hoping to lead the team in some of the latter races, but if the squad misses out on a licence, he will face the uncertainty of needing wildcard entry.
The UCI decision is likely to be announced next week.