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Clerc: "Negotiations over ProTour dead"

ASO director Patrice Clerc announced on Saturday that there would be no more negotiations on the ProTour with UCI officials, after the governing body of cycling apparently turned down a compromise paper established with the help of the sports' sponsors.

"We deeply regret that the proposal, elaborated with much help of the sponsors, has been rejected," Clerc said. "We did not expect that decision." The compromise mainly consisted of having 18 ProTour teams (instead of 20) in the future, who would get three-year (instead of four-year) licences, in order to make the circuit more open to other teams.

"This decision seals the split of cycling," Clerc added. "The compromise is dead and the discussions on it will not be taken up again. The UCI has rejected the compromise, and we will not talk about it anymore. That's for sure."

The conflict about the UCI's road cycling calendar reform has been going on since 2004. The organisers of the three Grand Tours and many cycling classics are not actually part of the ProTour, only accepted to let the ProTeams participate in their events. In April 2006, a compromise seemed to have been found, but it once again went up in smoke.

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