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Date Posted: 07:43:27 09/01/04 Wed
Author: Velo
Subject: EE not a ProTour team??

From VeloNews:

Problems for Euskaltel with Pro Tour license

Euskaltel-Euskadi is facing roadblocks to become part of cycling's super league for the 2005 season and might not be among the proposed 18 teams to race in the ProTour next year.

According to a report in the Diario Vasco, Euskaltel-Euskadi's problems don't originate with money or sponsorship - the team is assured to continue through at least 2006 - but rather the question of doping.

According to the report, team officials are scheduled to meet with UCI members Tuesday in Switzerland to discuss such problems as Gorka González, who tested high for hematocrit levels and was not allowed to start the 2004 Tour.

Thirteen teams are already approved as part of the new format and another five teams -- Saeco, Fassa Bortolo, Liquigas, Omega Pharma and Bouygues Telecom - are expected to get the nod to round out the selection.

Euskaltel-Euskadi officials will ask the UCI to expand the licenses to 20 teams, allowing the Basque lineup a chance to make the grade. Under the current framework, race organizers such as the Tour de France will still be able to select four wild card teams. If the UCI expands the ProTour list to 20, that would cut the wildcard selection down to just two teams, something unappealing for race organizers who keen to include national teams in their respective national tours.

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