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UCI WorldTour launched

The peloton close up.

The peloton close up. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

The UCI ProTour and Historical calendars will be formally merged from the beginning of the 2011 season and become known as the UCI World Tour. The UCI Management Committee made the announcement following a meeting in Melbourne on Thursday.

The Historical calendar category was formed after an impasse between the UCI and the organisers of the Grand Tours in 2008 that had seen the A.S.O. and R.C.S. withdraw their events from the then-ProTour and formulate their own selection criteria. Since 2009, Historical calendar events have formed part of the UCI’s World ranking system and Thursday’s announcement appears to mark a further rapprochement between the UCI and race organisers.

As a result of the re-branded calendar, the criteria for participation in each UCI World Tour event will now be the same. Thus, the 18 ProTeams will be automatically invited and obliged to participate in all UCI World Tour events. Individual race organisers will then be allowed to fill the remaining places with Pro Continental teams of their choice.

The original UCI ProTour launched in 2005 saw 20 teams automatically invited to each of the Grand Tours and allowed organisers to invite only two wildcard teams.

The UCI’s statement adds that while ProTeam applications will continue to be judged on sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria, “the sporting value will now be calculated each year according to a precise points system.”

The UCI’s Management Committee has also announced that riders’ agents will come under stricter scrutiny from 1st January 2012 as a result of a new certification process.

Prospective agents will have to sit an examination in order to obtain a UCI riders’ agent certificate, which is valid for four years. They must then apply for a riders’ agent licence from their national federation before being officially accredited as an agent.