The top five teams in Spain have announced that they will not be taking part in the Ruta del Sol and the Tour of Murcia in the opening weeks of the 2010 season. ProTour outfits Caisse d’Epargne, Euskaltel and Footon-Servetto, and Pro Continental squads Andalucía-CajaSur and Xacobeo made the decision because the organisers of the two races have not signed up to the annual agreement between the Spanish Association of Bike Race Organisers (AEOCC) and the Association of Teams that establishes the requirements for every race on the Spanish calendar.
Instead of signing the accord, Ruta del Sol organisers Deporinter and Murcia’s organisers, the Club Murciano Organizador de Carreras Ciclistas, will be following the regulations laid down by the UCI, just as they did this year. At that time the major Spanish pro teams opted to take part in the two races because they did not have enough time to plot out an alternative calendar.
The organisers insist there is no legal requirement for them to sign up to the disputed accord. In addition, they point out that the Majorca Challenge and Spain’s four ProTour races aren’t signed up to the accord either. They also point out that the boycott is not likely to be consistent as Andalucía-CajaSur are almost certain to line up in the Ruta del Sol at the insistence of their sponsors, as it is effectively their home tour.
The organisers of the two events are expected to cover for the absence of the Spanish by offering invites to foreign squads. Spain’s continental outfits – Orbea, Burgos Monumental and Caja Rural – are also in line to benefit.