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Julien Jurdie, assistant directeur sportif with struggling French squad RAGT Semences, believes the...
Julien Jurdie, assistant directeur sportif with struggling French squad RAGT Semences, believes the ProTour is harming the prospects of team's and races that find themselves excluded from it.
Contemplating the future of cycling in a team news release, Jurdie said, "The Pro Tour has really put the cat among the pigeons, changing approaches and the customs. There's no way of knowing what the future holds. There are some good aspects to the reform but there is no point pretending that it does not contain lots of disadvantages too particularly for the organisers."
It could be countered that for race organisers in the ProTour structure, the new system has improved the quality of the races, with Paris-Nice and the Giro d'Italia this year both seeing a new level of intensity . But Jurdie is thinking of other high-level races that are not part of the series.
"Last week for example, there were just 13 teams lined up on the start of the Euskal Bizikleta. It's a lot less than last year. If the Pro Tour puts the organisations in an awkward position, then there are going to have to be really careful indeed. Fewer races, fewer teams and it's a slippery slope downhill."
Jurdie sees more involvement in ProTour races by Continental Pro teams such as RAGT Semences and Selle Italia-Colombia (team of Giro third-place Jose' Rujano) a crucial to the sport.
"I'm convinced that the Pro Tour teams are not interested in the calendar as a whole," he said, "and they should be able to take advantage of all sorts of [wild cards] to give way to teams further down the ladder, from the Pro Continentals for example."
Without places in Pro Tour races, Jurdie fears for the future of his team and others. "The future of these teams is not that promising at all, particularly in France," he said. "How can you hope to find a sponsor if you just have French Cups or less to present him? Someone's going to have to sit down and think this out again otherwise it's all going to turn sour."
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