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ProTour 2011: AIGCP president raises questions

Eric Boyer, the head of the AIGCP, voiced concerns over the new ProTour agreement.

Eric Boyer, the head of the AIGCP, voiced concerns over the new ProTour agreement. (Image credit: AFP)

By Hedwig Kröner

Eric Boyer, the head of the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP), has voiced some concerns over the new ProTour agreement established between the UCI and the owners of the Grand Tour races. Speaking at the World Championships in Varese, Boyer told Cyclingnews that he was overall happy a new collaboration had been found, but wary of some of the consequences the new teams' points ranking system could have on the Professional Continental teams.

As International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid explained in a press conference last Friday in Varese, the Grand Tours will be on a "historical" calendar alongside the ProTour races on the World calendar. From 2011 onwards, both the "historical" races as well as the ProTour events will determine their participating teams through wildcard invitations, but also through a points ranking system, "that will see the top 17 teams automatically selected," according to McQuaid.

Cofidis manager and AIGCP president Eric Boyer, long-time at odds with the head of the UCI over the series, was pleased that the Grand Tour organisers had maintained some of their claims while working out the peace deal. "The owners of the Tour de France negotiated well," he said. "They wanted to collaborate with the UCI, but didn't want to be in the ProTour. And that's exactly what they achieved: they have kept their independence and their power. The rules to participation in their races, as well as their business as such are protected now."

The Frenchman emphasised that both race series had defended their rights well. "It was important to ASO that the UCI can continue its work on their races [meaning that the races owned by the company will be held under the aegis of the UCI again - ed.]," he continued. "The agreement also allows the continuity of the ProTour circuit. The teams that will have a ProTour licence will be obliged to enter the ProTour races. On the other hand, the organisers of the historic races - ASO, RCS sport and Unipublic - will hand out invitations. These two calendars will then allow the teams to score points in the new ranking system."

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