In Paris last Friday, organisers of the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España and Tour de France expressed their complete disagreement with, and abandonment from the UCI ProTour. This is a serious issue inside elite road cycling that will certainly create new chapters in the coming days. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez spoke with Vuelta a España director Victor Cordero to get his personal view of the argument.
Cyclingnews: After this meeting, how are things right now?
Victor Cordero: There has been no news these last 48 hours. The main topic now is to set up a vision of the three Grand Tours in terms of how things should go for 2006 and the coming years. Let's not forget that we took into account a letter from the UCI which we received around 12 days ago, telling us that there was no chance of negotiating, there were no more discussions, that they agreed to establish the same system in 2006 as in 2005, and in which they already announced to put us into a, let's say, separate calendar in 2007.
So, the situation today [Sunday, December 11, 2005] is that the organisers of the Giro, Vuelta and Tour have decided to set up this basis in 2006, that will be put into practice in 2007 when [the UCI intended to] create the separated calendar. And the fundamental basis is: the chance for the 20 ProTour teams to ride the races freely, not compulsorily in 2006. If the 20 teams want to, they will be welcome. If some of them don't want to, it doesn't matter. In 2007, the 14 best teams will be invited on the grounds of a classification that will award points from these three races. The rest, up to eight possible wildcards, will be given by invitation.
CN: Apart from the Grand Tours, there are other important races that would also be out of the ProTour.
VC: Yes, we have Milan-San Remo, Giro di Lombardia, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico; they are important races indeed. Since the World Championships in Verona in October 2004, we have been saying that the ProTour as it is built is not the reform that cycling needed. We tried to convince the other parties involved that it wasn't the correct reform and we suggested our ProTour change proposal for the good of cycling in general. They [the UCI] didn't want to hear, they couldn't hear. I'd like to think that there was good will, but that they didn't understand us.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'
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