The International Cycling Union (UCI) today unveiled the new World Calendar structure that will govern the administration of professional cycling from 2009 onwards.

“The [World Calendar] structure is born of the need, shared by all, to return to a calm, stable environment,” said UCI President, Pat McQuaid at the press conference in Geneva.

“The tensions that affected cycling peaked during the 2008 Tour de France and we found ourselves in a rather sad situation for our sport. Fortunately, these difficulties were the catalyst for us all to realise that it was no longer possible to continue in this way.

“The World Calendar is the synthesis of the needs of all those involved in professional cycling. It takes into account the heritage of our sport as well as legitimate ambitions for the global development of cycling. These two components can from now on coexist harmoniously within the World Calendar”.

The World Calendar will encompass both the existing ProTour as well as the new Historic events, which includes each of the Grand Tours, all of the major Classics and several of the most important stage races.

Along with a new structure, comes a revised points system as well as an all new series leader’s jersey. As with the former ProTour points classification, discrepancies still exist in the way points are allocated. For example, an overall win at the ENECO Tour or the Tour of Sochi is worth as many points as fifth overall in the Tour de France.

The old points system which attracted a great deal of criticism for failing to reward sprinters for stage wins appears to have been addressed in the World Calendar.

As with last year, ProTour teams are obliged to attend ProTour races, which can also choose to invited wild card ProContinental teams, but only those that have subscribed to the UCI’s biological passport scheme.

With the Historic races, entry is at the organisers’ discretion. The fact that the three major race organisers, ASO, RCS and Unipublic have retained a degree of sovereignty over their events is significant as it was one of the main reasons they fell out with the UCI.

2009 World Calendar:
The races are listed below with either the UPT (UCI ProTour) or HIS (Historic) abbreviation.

Jan 20-25: Tour Down Under AUS UPT
March 8-13: Paris – Nice FRA HIS
March 11-17: Tirreno-Adriatico ITA HIS
March 21: Milan-San Remo ITA HIS
April: 5: Tour of Flanders BEL UPT
April: 6-11: Tour of the Basque Country ESP UPT
April 8: Ghent – Wevelgem BEL UPT
April 12: Paris – Roubaix FRA HIS
April 19: Amstel Gold Race NED UPT
April 22: La Flèche Wallonne BEL HIS
April 26: Liège – Bastogne – Liège BEL HIS
April 28 – May 3: Tour of Romandy SUI UPT
May 9-31: Giro d’Italia ITA HIS
May 18-24: Tour of Catalonia ESP UPT
June 7-14: Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré FRA UPT
June 13-21: Tour of Switzerland SUI UPT
July 4-26: Tour de France FRA HIS
August 1: San Sebastian Classic ESP UPT
August 2-8: Tour of Poland POL UPT
August 16: Vattenfall Cyclassics GER UPT
August 19-26: Eneco Tour UPT
August 23: GP Ouest France – Plouay FRA UPT
August 29-Sept 20: Vuelta a España ESP HIS
October 17: Tour of Lombardy ITA HIS

Tour of Sochi (RUS – UPT) ? date to be confirmed. The UCI is still working with the Russian Cycling Federation on the organisation of the Tour of Sochi and this race could be held in May.

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