UCI & GT organisers to end disagreement?

The UCI and the organisers of the three Grand Tours look like they have made significant progress to end their disagreement. At a press conference in Bruges, Belgium, on Saturday, April 1, Paolo Dal Lago of the Liquigas team spoke in the name of all team sponsors as he presented the results of a work group which included members of the UCI, the sponsors, the teams and the organisers. "The work group has settled on an agreement paper which will now be given to the responsible persons of the parties involved," Dal Lago said. "The time is not yet right to be announcing the details. There is still a lot of work to be done but the important thing is there is an agreement of some kind."

In an official presentation of the 2006 race series hosted by UCI ProTour commission chairman Vittorio Adorni and manager Alain Rumpf, a video message from IOC president Jacques Rogge was transmitted, in which he expressed his wish, "that the problems regarding the ProTour be solved in a positive way and in the interest of cycling."

According to German Radsportnews.com, the group representing the UCI, team sponsors, teams, and the race organisers agreed that as of 2009, when most Pro tour team licenses expire, there will be only 18 teams in the Pro Tour instead of the current 20, and that the new licenses will be sold only for three years instead of four. With fewer Pro Tour teams, the race organisers will have the chance to invite more Continental teams. Furthermore, there are plans to give smaller teams the opportunity to move up into the ProTour after every season - how this is to be done is reportedly still being discussed. nevertheless, these informations are rumours which are currently not confirmed.

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