Race organisers reported as having accepted UCI’s rules of participation in World Tour events
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Monday, December 06, 2010

Race organisers reported as having accepted UCI’s rules of participation in World Tour events

by Shane Stokes at 7:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España
 
AIOCC decision boosts relationship between UCI and Grand Tour organisers

UCI World TourThe long unease between race organisers and the UCI over the rules of participation in the top events appears to be at an end, following acceptance of the latter’s system planned for 2011.

According to Wielerland and Sport.be, the Association Internationale des Organisateurs de Courses Cyclistes (AIOCC, International Association of Organisers of Cycling Races) met on Friday in Paris and agreed there to follow the guidelines laid down. That will see the eighteen ProTeams given guaranteed admission to the top events, including the races run by cycling’s Grand Tour organisers.

The latter had been the most vocal critics of the ProTour, which was originally introduced in 2005. The Grand Tour organisers’ relationship with the UCI got progressively worse, with Pat McQuaid and ASO’s Patrice Clerc and Christian Prudhomme being opening critical in the press. At the lowest point the teams rejected the ProTour concept outright, and there was talk that a rival governing body could be set up.

Things improved, though, after negotiations were held in 2008 between the UCI and the Marie-Odile Amaury, owner of the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). These led to an agreement between the two, Clerc’s sacking, and the appointment of Amaury’s son Jean-Etienne to his position.

Tour de France organiser Prudhomme chairs the AIOCC and the body’s acceptance of the UCI guidelines should lead to a more harmonious relationship. The AIOCC represents over 75 organisers in all. While the UCI’s stipulation about participation in World Tour events only pertains to the Historic Calendar races of the Grand Tour organisers and the ProTeam events, the agreement should lead to greater widespread stability.

A number of wildcard teams will be allowed take part in the World Tour races, with the individual race organisers having discretion about who they invite. Several of those places for the Tour de France are expected to be handed to French teams, particularly as only one from the country – Ag2r – was given a ProTeam licence for next season. This will increase the pressure of other teams which are fighting to take part, with squads such as the new Pegasus Racing team from Australia tussling for the remaining places.

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