Following recent media reports about the team lineup in races from next year, ProTour manager Alain Rumpf has clarified how exactly it will be determined which teams take part in major events in 2010 and beyond. Following the Giro di Lombardia, the best teams in the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Ranking will have the green light for next year’s main races, although it will be a further year before the three-week events will follow this rule.
“From next year, the top 17 teams in the world ranking get rights of participation in all Historic and ProTour races,” Rumpf told Cyclingnews. “The exception for 2010 is in relation to the Grand Tours – this rule does not [yet] apply to them as they are still governed by the agreement that was made between the teams and the organisers in June 2008.”
At this point in time, 14 out of the top 17 teams are ProTour squads. In order of ranking, these are Astana, Caisse d’Epargne, Columbia – HTC, Saxo Bank, Liquigas, Quick Step, Silence-Lotto, Rabobank, Team Katusha, Garmin Slipstream, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Lampre-NGC, Française des Jeux and Ag2r La Mondiale.
Professional Continental teams Cervélo TeatTeam, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli and Acqua & Sapone – Caffe Mokambo are sixth, 14th and 17th respectively, while ProTour squad Milram is a mere seven points behind Acqua & Sapone – Caffe Mokambo in 18th.
That fight for the 17th slot is likely to be one of the most important battles in the Lombardia event, as whoever wins out will be guaranteed a place in almost all of the major events in 2010.
While some media reports have already suggested the 17 teams have been decided, this is not actually the case. “The three teams that were mentioned recently [Cervélo, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli and Acqua & Sapone – Caffe Mokambo] are those that are in the top 17 at the moment,” said Rumpf. “But we have to wait and see after the Giro di Lombardia, which is the last race of the world calendar, if these teams will remain in that ranking. Acqua e Sapone and Milram are very close, so that could change.”
The decision to accept the top 17 teams in the World Ranking was taken in August of last year, and was recently underlined at a UCI ProTour council meeting.
Requirements for teams
According to Rumpf, ProTour organisers and teams are in agreement about that rule, but made one request. “The requirement was that the financial requirements that are imposed on ProTour teams shall also be imposed on Pro Continental teams that will earn the right of participation to World Calendar races," he said. “All the details are not confirmed, but the decision of principle was taken that the right of participation will be given and will be respected, once those financial obligations are met.”
The sums involved include the fees paid by ProTour teams towards the anti-doping fight, as well as other costs.
Rumpf also confirmed that ProTour teams will continue to have the right and obligation to participate in all ProTour races. However those that are outside the top 17 in the world ranking will have to rely on invites for the Historic races.
He concluded by saying that the system is a work in progress, and should become more straightforward in time. “It’s worth mentioning that in the discussions, everyone realised that the situation is complicated,” he stated.
“This is the short-term results of the agreement that was made at the end of last year to finish the war around the ProTour and the World calendar. These are provisions that are taken to make sure that everything goes well in 2010. But the ProTour council has asked the UCI management committee to make sure that the rules of the World Calendar for the future will be as simple and clear as possible for everybody. There will be further discussions in order to have a clearer structure.”
The UCI has not yet made a decision on the ProTour status of the Astana and Radio Shack teams.
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