UCI president Hein Verbruggen is continuing his no-back-down stance on the ProTour, which is part of the UCI's road cycling reform. Although he has yet to get agreement from the organisers of the three grand tours, he declared himself satisfied that the project is going ahead. At the recent Cyclo-cross World Championships in St. Wendel, Germany, Verbruggen was quoted by AFP as saying, "We will commence, that is the most important thing. Clearly I'm not very happy with the attitude of ASO [owners of the Tour de France]. As for the other two, it's a little bit of folklore. The Giro and the Vuelta, that became national tours, need the ProTour more than the ProTour needs them."
According to Verbruggen, only ASO is concerned about the four year terms, without promotion or relegation, of the 19 ProTour teams, but he is unaware why. "Our sport is above all an individual sport. A system of relegation at the end of the season does not serve to do anything because as soon as a team is relegated, its riders leave for a UCI ProTour team."
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'