AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) Lance Armstrong’s new team has been given permission to race in many of cycling’s top events for the next four years.
The International Cycling Union said Friday it has granted Team RadioShack a license to compete in ProTour races for the 2010-13 seasons. The team still needs an invitation to race in next year’s Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.
The season-long ProTour series includes one-day classics such as the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands and Belgium’s Tour of Flanders, plus stage races including the Dauphine Libere in France and Switzerland’s Tour de Romandie. It will feature 16 races in 2010.
Membership of the ProTour will likely give teams an advantage from 2011 in gaining entry to the grand tours and storied one-day races such as Milan-San Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
The UCI is in talks with race organizers to ensure starts will be given based on world ranking points collected in ProTour races.
Armstrong rode for the Kazakh-backed Astana team when he finished third in this year’s Tour at age 37, his first since retiring following his unprecedented seventh straight win in 2005.
The Texan announced during the Tour in July that he was leaving Astana to create his own team, which will be backed by American retailer RadioShack for two years.
The team will be managed by his long-term mentor Johan Bruyneel, who has been at the center of an acrimonious split with Astana.
UCI president Pat McQuaid said last month that the governing body’s license commission wanted more details of Bruyneel’s role before accepting RadioShack to the ProTour.
Teams must provide proof of secure finances, management structure and anti-doping program to gain a license.
ProTour teams currently each pay $179,000 per season toward operating costs of the UCI’s biological passport project, a blood profiling system that is its main weapon in the fight against doping.