The Court of Arbitration for Sport has denied Katusha temporary registration as a UCI ProTeam, but promised quick resolution to its appeal.
In a statement released Wednesday, CAS said a hearing would be scheduled “shortly” to resolve the Katusha challenge against the UCI Licensing Commission’s decision on December 18 to deny the Russian team WorldTour status for 2013.
Katusha was requesting immediate registration as a WorldTour team as its appeal was being considered, something CAS denied.
Katusha is taking its case to the sport high court, insisting that it deserves a place among the 18-team league that assures starts in the season’s grand tours and other major dates.
The CAS ruling came two days after the Giro d’Italia did not invite Katusha to the 2013 edition. Four wildcards were issued on Tuesday, but Katusha was left on the sidelines for the season’s first grand tour.
If Katusha wins its CAS appeal, however, it is still no guarantee that it will receive a WorldTour spot.
UCI officials have confirmed to VeloNews that the WorldTour will remain at 18 teams. If Katusha wins, officials said the UCI Licensing Commission will reconsider licenses, which means another could lose its place if the panel tips in favor of Katusha.
Team star Joaquim Rodríguez is already trying to jettison the team and has asked the UCI permission to break his contact ahead of the CAS hearing.
While Katusha waits for CAS to consider its case, the Russian team might seek a Pro Continental license. As of now, it officially holds no license at all, yet has the Tour de San Luís (January 21-27) on its racing schedule as its season debut in Argentina.
On Wednesday, the UCI awarded a Pro Continental license to RusVelo, another team backed by the same supporters of Katusha. How that might impact Katusha’s fate remains to be seen.
Full CAS statement:
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected a request for provisional measures filed by Katusha Management SA asking for the temporary registration of its professional team in the 2013 UCI ProTour.
The CAS will now consider the main appeal of Katusha Management SA which requests that the decision of the Licensing Commission of the UCI of 18 December 2012 concerning Katusha be annulled and that Katusha be admitted to the UCI ProTour for the entire 2013 season. A hearing will be scheduled shortly in order for a final decision to be issued as quickly as possible.