UCI's long term aim is ProTour events on each continent
By Shane Stokes
Following on from recent reports that the 2009 debut of the Tour of Sochi event was in doubt, the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed that the ProTour race will be postponed until next season.
The UCI ProTour Council (UPTC) had a meeting on Tuesday at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Attendees discussed the event's situation and issued a press release afterward clarifying the race's standing.
"The Council members were informed that the first edition of the Tour of Sochi (Russia), the date of which had been uncertain, would be rescheduled to 2010," it stated. "This new UCI ProTour race has gained the backing of the Russian government as well as several highly-motivated partners. However, the world economic crisis has led the event organisers to postpone its launch for a year."
The news is a setback for the ProTour series, which has considerably less events than was originally envisaged when it was launched back in 2005. However, the UCI statement referred to the new World Calendar – comprised of ProTour and so-called Historic Events – and said that this showed there exists "a new era of cooperation between the different stakeholders in cycling."
The ProTour Council members agreed on a long-term objective at the meeting to approve at least one ProTour event per continent, citing the globalization of cycling as the motive, and the success of the Tour Down Under as an example of what can be achieved. It also stated the dates for the Australian race: January 19-24, 2010.
The communiqué also welcomed the launch of a new training course for team managers in collaboration with ADISPRO (International Association of Professional Team Managers), the UCI Academy and the University of Manchester. It will encourage an increased professionalism of team managers, including the area of ethical matters.
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