By Jean-François Quénet in Grenoble
Visiting the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré in Grenoble, UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf stated the series is going ahead with a similar format for next year, despite the split between the organisers of the biggest races and the governing body. "We offer the possibility to all the current events to remain a part of the ProTour," Rumpf told Cyclingnews. "They are welcome to apply but it still has to be approved by the Licenses Commission."
New events for next year will be Russia's GP of Sochi in May, a yet to be determined finale in early October and a new Tour in China. "We're still looking at China for September 2009, with promoters looking at new events to be organised beyond the Olympic Games."
As far as teams are concerned, nine of the 18 current groups have a ProTour license going on for 2009: AG2R, Saunier Duval-Scott, High Road, Gerolsteiner, Liquigas, Lampre, Astana, Caisse d'Epargne and Milram. None of the teams whose license is expiring at the end of 2008 has applied for a new license yet. "They have till June 30 to do so," Rumpf said. "We verbally heard from some of them that they want to continue."
Some team managers are rumoured to ask for a different format, with less riders per team – it's now between 27 and 30 – and the possibility to choose to take part only in two thirds of the ProTour races. New projects for ProTour teams are still up in the air for 2009, Rumpf suggested.