International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson has confirmed the governing body has not received a WorldTour application from the proposed Fernando Alonso Cycling Team (FACT) for the 2015 season, but believes the outfit could still race at the second-tier ProContinental level.
The Spanish Formula One motor racing star last week partnered with UAE-based sport investment firm Novo in a bid to drive forward his plans to establish a professional cycling team. The Ferrari driver and two-time F1 world champion has held a long-running ambition to form a cycling team and had hoped to secure a squad for this year only for the collapse of negotiations in September 2013 to acquire a WorldTour licence from Euskaltel-Euskadi.
The announcement of the Novo partnership came ahead of the October 1 deadline for applications for 2015 ProTeam licences to be received by the UCI. “We haven’t had anything from them about the WorldTour,” Cookson told the Cyclingnews website. “We’re still waiting for further information from them, I think it’s still possible for them to have a ProContinental team for next year, but we’re still waiting for that information.”
The UCI president added: “We’ve provided him (Alonso) with every bit of information that is needed and we look forward to hearing of his plans when he’s ready to tell us more about them. He’s often said that he’d be quite happy to come in at the ProContinental level and build from there and that makes a lot of sense to us.”
Alonso’s continued cycling interest comes with his Formula One future up in the air. It emerged over the weekend that Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel will take Alonso's seat at Ferrari next season, with the Spaniard linked with a return to the McLaren team.