Top teams to ditch 2009 Pro Tour license
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top teams to ditch 2009 Pro Tour license

by Agence France-Presse at 11:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Seventeen of the world's top cycling teams said Tuesday they would not be seeking a Pro Tour license for 2009, according to a statement released here at the Tour de France.

The Pro Tour was launched by the International Cycling Union (UCI) in 2004 in a bid to revamp the cycling calendar and have the best teams riding in the best races.

However, since then the Pro Tour has met with resistance from several fronts.

Recently France's top team, Cofidis, said they would not be renewing their licence for next season, although there has already been opposition from the organisers of the three major three-week races of France, Spain and Italy.

After a meeting here Tuesday, 17 of the 18 teams involved with the Pro Tour said they would leave the Pro Tour in a bid to try and work towards a new cycling calendar. "It has been decided unanimously not to renew our Pro Tour licences for the 2009 season," said a statement. "The teams are working towards developing a new way of organising professional cycling."

The statement added that meetings had been held between major race organisers, including those of the Tour, the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Spain.

Eighteen teams currently hold a Pro Tour licence, the only one missing from the Tour being Astana - who were not invited by the organisers due to a doping scandal which led to their eviction from last year's race.

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