The technical directors of the Tour of California confirmed today that their contract with race organisers AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) was not renewed for next season, leading to speculation that the race might be eyeing a step up to the WorldTour.
Chris Aronhalt, managing partner at Medalist Sports, expressed his disappointment with the split to Cyclingnews today in a prepared statement.
"Medalist Sports was notified by AEG that its management contract for the technical and operational production of the Amgen Tour of California will not be renewed for 2016," Aronhalt said.
"While disappointed to see the partnership end, Medalist Sports is immensely proud of its team and the 10 great years of partnerships, accomplishments and memories. We wish the Amgen Tour of California the best, and are grateful for the opportunity to help build its tradition. Our focus continues to be on our clients and partners, as well as being part of the positive growth of the sport of cycling."
Medalist Sports will continue to direct the USA Pro Challenge, Tour of Utah and Tour of Alberta.
AEG representatives could not be reached for comment.
AEG has had a partnership with ASO since 2008, with the Tour de France organisers helping to produce and distribute the television coverage of the race, and AEG assisting ASO with sponsorship. It is possible ASO could send its technical directors to run the Tour of California, as there are few companies in the world with the skills and budget to fill Medalist Sports' role.
There is also a push to bring the WorldTour to the Americas, with UCI Vice President David Lappartient tellingCyclingnews that proposed reforms to the WorldTour calendar include the addition of races on each continent. Lappartient specifically mentioned Tour of California as a possible WorldTour addition, stating, "We want to welcome some new races in the WorldTour like the Tour of Turkey, [Tour of] California or even Abu Dhabi, Strade Bianche in Italy and the Nordic race; maybe even the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, so that the WorldTour is on every continent."