Joy for Sagan, Nibali as UCI confirms WorldTour licences
The new teams of Peter Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali have been successful in their quest for a 2017 WorldTour licence.
Both Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain-Merida have been granted licences by cycling's governing body the UCI, taking the place of defunct teams Tinkoff and IAM Cycling.
Under UCI regulations, the two teams will hold their licences for the next two years.
With the closure of Tinkoff, Sagan opted for Bora-Hansgrohe and he has been joined in the team by Rafal Majka - the two-time Tour de France mountains classification winner.
While Bora-Hansgrohe steps up from the Professional Continental level, Bahrain-Merida are an entirely new team who will be led by four-time Grand Tour winner Nibali following his departure from Astana.
It's official! We're proud to announce that @UCI_cycling awards BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team the WORLD TOUR LICENCE-- BahrainMeridaCycling (@Bahrain_Merida) November 25, 2016
The remaining 15 licences granted by the UCI have gone to teams who were part of the WorldTour this year - although a number have changed names due to new sponsorship deals.
Only one team are awaiting to learn their fate ahead of 2017 and that is TJ Sports - formerly Lampre-Merida - due to delays with their application.
"This is an exciting time and I am really looking forward to the arrival of new partners on the 2017 UCI WorldTour," said UCI president Brian Cookson.
"The confidence shown by both new and existing sponsors confirms the growing interest in men's professional road cycling's major competition.
"With new teams and a global calendar enhanced with new races, the forthcoming season promises to be more exciting than ever."