By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia
UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf has labeled the UCI's announcement on Sunday that the Grand Tours and four, possibly five, monuments will form a new series of equal stature to the ProTour as "good news". The UCI had issued six European national federations with a threat to exclude the nation's riders from the World Championships if they sanctioned the events to run in their respective regions, however the parties have now come to an agreement on moving forward.
"What is important is that the UCI wants to work in good cooperation with all of the stakeholders in the sport," said Rumpf, who was in Australia observing the first non-European round of the ProTour.
While the proposed second calendar is yet to be presented to Grand Tour organizers – ASO, RCS and Unipublic – Rumpf believes it's a significant step forward. The meeting between the national federations was held at the World Cyclo-cross Championships in Treviso, where the federations came to an agreement in principal.
"In future we will have the ProTour on the one hand and races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France on another calendar of the same level," he said. "I think that's good, you know, the ProTour will in the future be the calendar of the globalisation of innovation and we will have the monuments of sorts on another calendar. We have the support of the teams and I think that's very good news."
While the weekend's meeting in Italy marked a step in the right direction for the UCI ProTour versus Grand Tour organizers battle – the proposed answer is some way from becoming a reality. Rumpf expects that there could still be more talks regarding a future union of the two series.
"Well we will see for the future I guess, I guess there will be talks to re-unite the whole thing but it's too early to comment until we have some fresh decisions," he concluded.