The organiser of the Tour de France, ASO, insists it has the right to select the teams by its own set of rules, and not those put forth during a meeting this last weekend in Treviso, Italy. During the meeting – taken place at the Cyclo-cross World Championships – the International Cycling Union (UCI) and representatives of the national federations came to a make-shift agreement on a 'special calendar' for 2008, while also noting that the Tour was required to invite all 18 ProTour teams.
The interesting point of the new agreement was that the French Grand Tour was the only race that would be required to invite all ProTour teams, whereas the other 'special calendar' races (Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España, Milano-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Giro di Lombardia) are not subject to this rule. "Only the Tour has to take the 18 ProTour teams, the other races on this new calendar can choose any team out of the 30 available teams," stated UCI President Pat McQuaid after the meeting.
"I was not informed of the details," said Tour Director Christian Prudhomme to L'Equipe. "What I can repeat is that the essential point for us [ASO - ed.] is the benefit of total liberty in team selection. We no longer want to be a prisoner of events like in 2007 [referring to the Michael Rasmussen case in particular - ed.]."
The heads of the Italian and Spanish federations still need to meet with their respective Grand Tours to obtain support for new proposal.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'