UCI's ProTour snubs nose at Tour de France

A threatened boycott of next year's ProTour road race series by the organising companies behind the Tours of France, Italy and Spain will not derail the proposed 28-race series, promises UCI's out-going president Hein Verbruggen.
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The ProTour race series will go ahead with or without the approval of Tour de France organisers, said the UCI president, reports the AFP news agency.

Last week, the organisers of Europe's Grand Tours told the UCI they would refuse to take part in the new-look tour, a move that would scubber the series.

The UCI believes it can reach a compromise deal with the organiserrs of the Giro and the Vuelta, leaving the Tour de France as the only dissenting voice.

"The ProTour will go on with or without the Tour de France," said the UCI.

Vuelta organiser Victor Cordero said the tours of Italy, Spain and France had "grave reservations" about the format of the ProTour.

"We have sent a letter to Mr. Verbruggen, to tell him that we cannot associate ourselves with the current format of the Pro Tour," said Cordero.

The concerns centre on the team selection process. The four-year cycle meant that teams who are not in at the beginning will be left out in future years even with excellent race results, while under-performing teams could not be thrown out of the ProTour series.

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