By Shane Stokes
Although each of the 27 events are currently based in Europe, the UCI's goal of furthering the global development of cycling means that the governing body is to consider the expansion of the ProTour series to other continents. Speaking to Cyclingnews this week, UCI president Pat McQuaid confirmed that the organisation would consider proposals from other countries to host such events, even if that necessitated an equivalent reduction in the European calendar.
"I wouldn't say it is a long way away," he stated. "The initial idea of the ProTour was to assist in the globalisation of the sport, to bring the sport at the highest level into as many markets as is possible. It was natural at the beginning that it could only be done at a European level, letting things develop there initially. Once that was done, we could then see what interest there is in bringing the ProTour to foreign shores."
On Monday USA Cycling flagged its intentions by issuing a press release stating that it was aiming to host a ProTour event within a short timeframe.
The communiqué underlined what it said was unprecedented growth, affirming that: "the future is so bright, USA Cycling has its sights set on and strongly believes the US will have a UCI ProTour race in the very near future.
"(UCI President) Pat McQuaid and the UCI have made clear their intention to truly globalise professional cycling and expand the highest level of the sport beyond its traditional Western European borders," said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. "We are very supportive of the vision for the sport expressed by Mr McQuaid and believe that the US is perfectly positioned and prepared to be a player in the expansion of the ProTour outside of its present structure."
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