Saronni: no advantages in ProTour yet

With regard to the current discrepancies between the three Grand Tour organisers and the International Cycling Union, the team manager of Italian squad Lampre-Fondital, Giuseppe Saronni, has recently given Italian Datasport his point of view. While he regretted that the ProTeams were "involved in the situation despite themselves", he was hopeful that the two disputing parties would come to an agreement over the ProTour soon. But Saronni also noted that, because of the power battle between the world's governing body of cycling and the sport's most important race organisers, the teams missed out on the ProTour's benefits.

"At the moment, there is sort of a truce," Saronni said. "But it was clear that such an important reform of bike racing would not be without pain. There have to be made certain adjustments, but I believe that the parties are not far from a common agreement. The principle to make participate 20 teams with many of the world's best riders in the ProTour has been respected. But in reality, we have some enormous obligations and haven't seen much of the advantages yet."

The manager, who was a professional cyclist form 1977 to 1989, also added that it was hard to find sponsorships, and that smaller race organisers were also affected. "Certainly the financial situation isn't positive, above all in Italy, but the chaos comes from the fact that it's hard to find a sponsor of a certain level," he commented. "This also concerns the smaller races; there is also a crisis from the organisational point of view. Either you're prepared or it gets hard to survive."

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