The Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana organisers are ready to allow all 18 of the UCI’s first division, ProTeams to participate in their races next year. The indication came on Friday in Paris, according to Wielerland, when the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC) agreed with the UCI’s new WorldTour structure.
The WorldTour will begin next year and takes the place of the ProTour that began in 2005. The WorldTour contains most all of cycling’s top race, but, unlike the ProTour, also includes the three Grand Tours.
Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme is the chairman of the AIOCC, made up of 75 race organisers. On behalf of the AIOCC, he accepted the WorldTour’s qualification rules presented by UCI’s Philippe Chevallier and Mario Zorzoli.
The organisers traditionally want more control over which teams they select. Angelo Zomegnan, director of the Giro d’Italia, criticised the WorldTour when the UCI released the calendar in September.
“For us organisers,” he said on October 1, “this does not change anything.”
Zomegnan and Prudhomme typically select all of the first division teams to their races. Prudhomme invited all of them to the Tour de France this year. However, he excluded the Fuji team last year due to the doping scandal of Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli in the 2008 edition. Similarly, in 2008, he excluded team Astana due to Alexandre Vinokourov’s blood doping case from 2007.
AIOCC’s agreement on Friday, though, shows they are ready to invite all 18 ProTeams to the Grand Tours.
UCI’s president, Pat McQuaid said on October 2 that the Grand Tour organisers had already agreed to the WorldTour.
“We have had meetings, taking into account the race organisers’ wishes before we announced the new UCI WorldTour,” said McQuaid.
“Having the best teams, the best riders in the best races, is my desire, the UCI’s desire and the media’s desire.”
Zomegnan and Prudhomme typically announce the participating teams for their races in March.
2011 UCI ProTeams
1 Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project
5 Omega Pharma-Lotto
8 Team Sky
10 Saxo Bank-SunGard
11 Team RadioShack
15 BMC Racing Team
17 Quick Step