At a conference of the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, it was decided to initiate talks with the owning companies of the three Grand Tours in the hope to resolve the issues surrounding the ProTour teams' participation in the races. Last week-end, Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport announced that he wasn't going to invite four of the 18 ProTour teams, preferring Italian Pro Conti outfits instead. According to ANP, nine of the 18 ProTour teams represented in the IPCT voted to arrange a meeting with the race organisers.
"We're going to talk to the bosses of the Grand Tours to come to a solution," said Henri van der Aat, Rabobank's interim manager. "The teams need to know where they're at." It is apprehended that Tour de France organiser ASO might also choose the participating teams according to its own criteria, and not those of the UCI.
The nine teams (Astana, Team High Road, Rabobank, Milram, CSC, Quickstep, Lampre, Liquigas and Saunier Duval) are determined to put some pressure on the organisers. "There could be a situation where we say: 'either you take all of us, or none of us will come'. But we understand and respect the organisers' wish that they don't want any teams that could hurt their image."
Under the new 'special calendar' rules agreed upon by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and national federation representatives in Treviso, Italy, RCS Sport Events Director Angelo Zomegnan was not subject to the ProTour rule that insists that all of its teams be invited.
Zomegnan responds to McQuaid
On Wednesday, UCI president Pat McQuaid criticised the Giro d'Italia team selection and called the organiser's decision "a step back 20 years". One day later, Zomegnan refuted the accusation, saying "McQuaid accuses us of taking a step back 20 years, but who is to say that the selection criteria were worse 20 years ago with respect to all the deviations in the last three years. Incidentally, the quality of some ProTour teams that participated in the Giro in the period of 2005 to 2007 was dismal. Why should we have to invite them again?
"Also, all of the teams invited – to my knowledge – are affiliated with the UCI, and therefore I don't understand how its president can permit to divide its children from step-children," Zomegnan told tuttobiciweb.
"Finally, I remind McQuaid that just at the end of October we communicated to the UCI and WADA to be part of the biological passport [programme] ... and no one ever replied."