Katusha denied 2013 licence

Katusha are the surprise absentee from the 18-strong list of teams granted WorldTour licences for the 2013 season and beyond.

The Russian super team ended last season in second place behind Team Sky in the UCI World Ranking, and their team leader Joaquim Rodriguez topped the individual ranking, just beating Bradley Wiggins.

Rodriguez won the Tour of Lombardy to cap his 2012 and add to a victory in Fleche Wallonne, and he led for long spells of the Vuelta a Espana before a bad final week dropped him to third overall.

They were previously named as one of the 15 teams to meet the sporting criteria for a licence, but were then left off the list when it was published on Monday.

It had been expected that the contest for the final WorldTour licence would come down to a selection between Pro Continental team Argos-Shimano and Team Saxo-Tinkoff, but both squads were granted a position in the 2013 WorldTour.

A UCI statement read: "The request from the team Katusha for registration in first division has been rejected.

"In accordance with UCI regulations, this team's application has been forwarded to the UCI administration, so that the latter may assess the possibility of registering this team as a UCI Professional Continental Team."

Teams with 2013 licences (18): Astana, BMC Racing, Cannondale, Lampre-Merida, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, ORICA GreenEDGE, Team Sky, Vacansoleil-DCM, Movistar, AG2R La Mondiale, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Former Rabobank, Garmin-Sharp, Argos-Shimano, Saxo-Tinkoff, FDJ, Lotto Belisol, RadioShack-Nissan.