Vuelta a España organiser Ignacio Ayuso was very surprised at the declarations of former UCI president Hein Verbruggen, who recently stated that the next Tour de France could be organised "for junior riders" if the Grand Tour remained out of the ProTour. "I'm absolutely convinced that this will never happen," Ayuso told Spanish media As. No serious professional team will ever decline the Vuelta, the Giro or the Tour, no matter how much Verbruggen wants to get even."
With the three Grand Tour organisers meeting on Thursday, December 8, to discuss their position in the future organisation of the international cycling calendar, an integration of the races into the ProTour seems more and more unlikely. "We will not give in to Verbruggen's threats," the president of Unipublic continued. "We're part of the UCI, and want to continue being part of it, but we cannot be in favour of a closed league that could kill cycling, just because somebody wants to do business. The European Union is against closed competition. It's been one year that we've said we won't accept it."
A joint statement by Unipublic, Giro d'Italia organiser RCS and Tour de France organiser ASO has been announced for Friday, December 9, at a press conference in Paris.