July 08, 2006
ASO president says grand tours done with ProTour
Patrice Clerc, president of Tour organizers ASO, says his organization, Vuelta a España organizers Unipublic and Giro d'Italia organizers RCS, have given up on integration with the UCI's ProTour.
The grand tours worked out a provisional agreement in 2005 that has been in force since, and the UCI and grand tour organizers met in April to try to hammer out an agreement, but Clerc today said, “There will be no further discussions over a commercial system that is purely economic, closed and cut off from the outside world.”
The grand tour organizers don't want their races to become merely the longest of the ProTour events, and so had lobbied for fewer ProTour teams (and correspondingly more wildcard teams in the GTs) and for a system of promotion and relegation like European football.
If in fact the alliance is over, the grand tour organizers take with them many of the season's best-known races, including Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Milan-San Remo.
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