Team Katusha will race in cycling’s elite WorldTour this season.
The Russian outfit, home to world number one, Joaquim Rodriguez, winner of stage three of the Tour of Oman, had been denied a renewed entry to cycling’s top tier by the sport’s governing body, the UCI.
Rodriquez’ future with the team was plunged into uncertainty, prompting the team’s management to take its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Today, CAS upheld the appeal of Katusha Management against the UCI, following a hearing last Friday (February 8).
“In view of the urgency of the matter, the Panel has issued its decision today, without the grounds, which will be issued in writing in a few weeks,” a CAS spokesman said.
The WorldTour calendar began in January at the Tour Down Under, but next month sees a slew of key events, including Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, Gent Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders.
On December 10, 2012, the UCI announced that it would not renew Katusha’s ProTeam license.
Ten days later, the squad, which is backed by some of Russia’s biggest enterprises, filed an appeal to CAS.
The UCI continued on its path to downgrade the team, granting a Continental licence, two tiers below the WorldTour, on January 14, 2013.
But a three-man panel convened to hear the case last Friday has overturned the UCI’s decision, allowing Katusha to contest the biggest races in the sport in 2013.
“In its deliberations following the hearing, the CAS Panel did not reach the same conclusions as the UCI Licensing Commission and decided to uphold the appeal.
“According to the CAS decision, the application of Katusha Management SA to be registered as a UCI ProTeam for the season 2013 of the UCI World Tour is granted,” a CAS spokesman said.