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Katusha takes UCI Tour dispute to court

Posted on Dec 15, 06:55PM | IANS

The Katusha team has applied to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne to resolve a dispute with the International Cycling Union (UCI) over competing at the biggest races.

The UCI published a list Monday of 18 teams that had been granted licenses for the 2013 season and therefore eligible for entry in all major races including the Tour de France.

Katusha's application was rejected with no reason yet given, and the team, ranked second in the world and featuring world No.1 rider Joaquim Rodriguez, threatened legal action.

"We have filed a suit with the court in Lausanne and taken a very tough position there," said federation president Igor Makarov, who is a prominent Katusha sponsor and member of the UCI's executive committee, as well as head of the Russian Cycling Federation.

Makarov said, "80 percent of the cycling sport world" was behind Katusha, with the remaining 20 percent either neutral or "dependent on (UCI president Pat) McQuaid."

The issue would be finally resolved next week, he predicted.

The UCI said Wednesday that the reasoning behind the decision would be explained "shortly," while the president of the European Cycling Union has branded the license refusal "inexplicable".

Teams are required to meet four criteria to earn a license: sporting, ethical, financial and administrative.

Without a WorldTour license, Katusha would have to rely on sought-after wildcard entries to major races, and Makarov said the team had already received offers from various race organisers.