North America to get three ProTour events?

Dark clouds

Dark clouds (Image credit: Cam Jennings)

The UCI announced on Thursday that it has reserved two dates for ProTour races on the 2010 calendar.  The ProTour Council set aside September 10th and 12th, 2010 for two new UCI ProTour races, both in Canada.

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The only details released so far is that the first race will be held in Montreal and the second in Quebec City. The organisers of both events have requested four-year licences. The UCI clarified that the race applications must now follow the usual licence award procedures.

The news comes on the heels of the announcement that the Tour of California has applied for ProTour status from 2011. The race organisers moved the event to May starting in 2010 in order to accomodate its higher profile.

The race, set to take place from May 16-23, 2010, would have conflicted with the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (Tour of Catalonia). That race has now been moved to March  22-28, 2010 - a slot which is normally the domain of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.

The expansion of the ProTour calendar to North America is part of the UCI's plan to globalise the series. In 2008 it made its first foray outside of Europe when the Tour Down Under was added to the calendar.

"The likely addition of three American races to the UCI ProTour represents exactly the kind of global expansion this calendar was intended to promote," said the UCI.

The addition of a one-day ProTour event for Montreal would be a great boost to the Canadian city, which already hosts the women's World Cup round at the end of May and the Grand Tour du Montreal women's stage race.

Quebec City is also home to a stage of the Tour de Beauce.

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