Grand Tours may reduce racing days

The president of the International association of cycling race organisers (AIOCC) and Sports Director of Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic, Victor Cordero, has stated that the Organisers of the Grand Tours would be willing to discuss a shortening of their races in the context of current discussions surrounding the future of the ProTour.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper AS, Cordero explained that one way to fulfil the ProTour's initial aim ['The best riders of the best teams to the best races'], was the cutting down of race days in the three Grand Tours. "Manolo Saiz proposed the obligation of riding a certain number of days, but that was ruled out," Cordero said. "All sports oblige their participants to compete a minimum. We know that another way is to reduce the days of the Grand Tours. We would be willing to discuss the reduction of racing days, but it shouldn't serve to race criteriums and the like."

Cordero continued by exposing the "promotion calendar" - a possible framework of exchange between the ProTour and the European Continental Circuit. "The ProTour Council had a good idea with what he called the promotion calendar, which could be created in 2007. It would include race like the Vuelta a Burgos, the Bicicleta Vasca, the Critérium International - great races that aren't in the ProTour. Only the best teams of this calendar could aspire to participate in the big races," the Spaniard added, also saying that the ProTour race organisers should have more wildcards to give to second-level squads, which made necessary the reduction of the number of ProTeams.

"So that the remainder of cycling can subsist, the number of licences must be reduced to 18 teams," Cordero continued. "We would have four wildcards and could give one of them to the best team of the second calendar, but this one has to be clarified. There is an enormous confusion of teams and races on the second level. The worst teams of the European circuit are still better than the best of the other continents," he concluded, specifying that this did not include South-African Team Barloworld, which should "reconsider its license."

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