The UCI today confirmed that Pro Tour licences will still be allocated for up to four years to a maximum of 18 teams. However, should some teams fail to make the top 20 of a complicated but fair evaluation system they could be relegated to the Pro Continental ranks.
Four criteria will be taken into account for the designation of the 18 Pro Tour teams: finance, administration, ethics and sporting values, with a major focus on the latter.
UCI road coordinator Philippe Chevallier explained: “There will be a sporting evaluation of each bidding team based on the results of the past two years at all the races from the world calendar, continental calendars and U23 races as well. From our internal points scale, we’ll count the points of the fifteen best riders of each team who will be part of their roster in 2011, based on the information provided by the teams on October 20. We’ll release the top 15 on October 25. The remaining three teams will be chosen according to the four criteria.”
Should riders like Fabian Cancellara sign for a new team after October 20, as Cadel Evans did for BMC on October 29 last year, their points won’t be taken into account for their new team and will remain with their old squad.
Chevallier also revealed that there will be bonus on offer as part of the sporting evaluation, but that points may also be subtracted as punishment for infractions. For example, RadioShack will receive a bonus for having won the teams’ classification of the Tour de France but they’ll be penalised for having showed up at the protocol with an illegal jersey.
“Ethics will not include only doping but also the general behaviour of the teams,” Chevallier said. Team managers caught cheating behind the bunch might lose their Pro Tour licence. “Their history with doping affairs will also come under scrutiny,” added the road coordinator.
World Tour hitting early obstacles?
Despite the news yesterday in which the UCI announced that 24 teams are currently bidding for the 2011 World Tour, the project has already hit a possible hurdle.
According to the announcement by the UCI, the 18 selected teams will have automatic entry to the Grand Tours and all other events of the World Tour. But Giro d’Italia organiser Angelo Zomegnan told Cyclingnews “that we already have an agreement that we signed in September 2008.” Under this agreement, the top seventeen teams of the 2010 world rankings would qualify for the Grand Tours, while all changes would first have to be discussed.
Cyclingnews understands that the launch of the World Tour was carried out without the consent or backing of Giro organisers RCS, while every race within the professional calendar was represented by ASO at the UCI congress this week, with Tour de France management member Jean-François Pescheux representing races over which he and his organisation hold no jurisdiction. Cyclingnews is unaware if races such as the Giro d’Italia, Tour de Suisse or Tour Down Under gave their consent to this.
Cyclingnews also understands that the UCI is frustrated that it needs to submit its rules to all parties in order to be discussed.
Finally, it appears that no organisation representing the riders was consulted on the World Tour plans.
UCI president Pat McQuaid countered Zomegnan reaction by saying, “If he doesn’t want the best 18 teams, his races shouldn’t be on the world calendar. I can’t see why race organisers wouldn’t accept the rules. We have taken their wishes into account. I would hope they accept it.”
Cyclingnews has tried to contact ASO but nobody from the organisation was available for comment.