On Monday December 11, the UCI will announce the winners of the ProTour lottery. At stake is the license of the now defunct Phonak team. The contenders:
Unibet.com – They seem to have the inside track on obtaining the license. The finances look good for the former Mr. Bookmaker team. Their application is not completely clean, however as they have a rider, Carlos Garcia Quesada, who is listed in the Operation Puerto black list.
Barloworld – Set up to be the bridesmaid in the license race. Nothing really wrong with this team, it just looks like they are coming up short.
Astana – The dark horse for the Phonak license. Just recently, they were given bad news by the UCI. They were told their finances needed more guarantees. As of right now, they are on the outside looking in.
What about the team formerly known as Astana? Manolo Saiz still holds a valid license and wants top dollar for it. The UCI could try to take it away but so far, they have shown very little courage in facing difficult problems with decisive action.
If the UCI succeeds in taking back the license from the team formerly known as Astana, then the two runner’s up may have a second chance. If not, check eBay as Manolo may go that route.
What if Saiz does not get his price and does not have his license taken away? Well we would suggest that he try to form a team called the team formerly known as Astana. I would suggest they ride under this logo.