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UCI ProTour
Current season or competition:
2010 UCI ProTour
Sport Road bicycle racing
Founded 2005
No. of teams 18[1] (Others invited on
race by race basis)
Country(ies) Europe, Australia and Canada
Most recent champion(s) Alberto Contador (2009)
Astana (2009)
Spain (2009)

The UCI ProTour is a series of road bicycle races organised by the International Cycling Union (UCI). Created by Hein Verbruggen, former president of the UCI, it comprises a number of 'ProTour' cycling teams, each of whom are required to compete in every round of the series. It was initially the basis of a season long competition for rankings points, created for 2005 and to replace the UCI Road World Cup series, which ended at the end of the 2004 season (although the World Cup did not include any stage races). The ProTour has been the subject of continuing disputes involving the UCI, cycling teams, and the organizers of the world's most prominent bicycle races (most notably, the Grand Tours), and from 2009 the ranking element of the ProTour has been superseded by the UCI World Ranking.

Contents

Licensing

The ProTour licences are given to a maximum of 20 teams, to which sponsors must commit multiple years of sponsorship (4 years at the ProTour's inauguration). The exception to this rule was the Phonak team, which was given only a two-year licence due to previous doping allegations. Licence holders can apply for registration each year, which is dependent upon a check on contracts and budgets.

After 2005, the Fassa Bortolo and Domina Vacanze teams folded and the vacant places were given to AG2R Prévoyance and Team Milram respectively. Following the 2006 season the designated replacement principal sponsor for the Phonak Hearing Systems team, iShares, pulled its support as a results of the Floyd Landis doping scandal and the team was disbanded. The Unibet.com Cycling Team received Phonak's ProTour license, and the Swiss-based, Kazakh-backed Astana Team received the license previously owned by Manolo Saiz and his Liberty Seguros-Würth. Unibet.com and Discovery Channel discontinued after the 2007 season, bringing down the number of ProTour teams to 18. At the end of 2008, another two teams dropped out: Crédit Agricole and Gerolsteiner. Their licenses were taken over by Garmin-Slipstream and Team Katusha. Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis were denied licence renewals for the 2010 season, and new licences were given to Team Sky and Team RadioShack, while although Liquigas-Doimo had had its licence renewed until 2013, its registration was rejected.

History

Season-long competitions for professional road racing were first instituted in 1948, and continued until the late 1980s when the UCI instituted the UCI Road World Cup series which ran until 2004.

In replacing the World Cup, the ProTour was designed to follow the format of the Formula One motor-racing series, and was intended to address several concerns:

  • The Grand Tours were not part of the UCI Road World Cup series
  • Different riders and different teams targeted different types of races, making direct comparisons difficult
  • Team sponsorships tended to last only a very few years
  • Many teams had financial difficulty in paying their riders and staff members
  • Several teams had been plagued by doping issues

The UCI lobbied the organizers of the Grand Tours to participate in the ProTour, and was successful in obtaining their agreement despite prior disagreements and threats to completely pull out of the ProTour.

The ProTour has been criticized for not having a system in place for a timely upgrade and downgrade of teams from/to the lower-tier UCI Continental Circuits.

UCI versus Grand Tour organisers

Originally, UCI and the organisers of the Grand Tours had been unable to come to terms on the 2006 UCI ProTour, with the result that the status of both the Grand Tours and some of the other races organised by those organisations behind the Grand Tours was unclear until well into the season, but they were eventually included.

During the 2007 UCI ProTour season, the ASO, RCS and Unipublic, organisers of the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana respectively, remained at odds with each other. The primary reason was that grand tour organisers wanted more freedom to invite popular national teams (e.g., UCI Professional Continental teams) and the right to exclude some UCI ProTour teams such as Unibet.com. Failure to achieve agreement lead UCI chairman Pat McQuaid to send a letter in February 2008 to all professional teams urging them to boycott Paris-Nice because it was an 'outlawed' race. In response, the AIGCP (Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels) announced that the teams had unanimously decided to take part in Paris-Nice, the organisation of which was to be taken over by the French Cycling Federation[2]. Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere commented: "I'm more than fed up with all the arguing. ASO and UCI don't know how much damage they are doing to the sport. What am I supposed to tell my sponsors? This conflict has been going on for three years and is escalating all the time. Can the teams be certain that they will be able to take part in the Tour de France later in the year?"[3].

From 2008, the ProTour was largely devalued by the withdrawal from its calendar of the three Grand Tours, namely the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, as well as the early-season stage race Paris-Nice and key single-day events such as Paris-Roubaix, Milan-Sanremo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Flèche Wallonne and the Giro di Lombardia.

On July 15, 2008, the 17 ProTour teams participating in the 2008 Tour de France announced that none of them would seek ProTour licenses for the 2009 season,[4] but in the end all but two of them re-committed[citation needed].

In 2008 the Tour Down Under in Australia became the first ProTour event to be held outside Europe. This will be followed by two one day races in Canada in 2010, and possibly the Tour of California in 2011. [5].

In 2009 UCI and organizers had agreement that events will be counted towards UCI World Ranking, which also includes Professional Continental teams. Grand Tour organizers kept the right to choose teams for the races, and also some of the teams chose not to race certain races.

Events

Key:

*: Included in ProTour
•: Race held, but not as part of ProTour
X: Race not held, or not as elite professional race

Date Race Country Type 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Mid-late January Tour Down Under  Australia 1 week stage * * *
Early-mid March Paris-Nice  France 1 week stage * * *
Early-mid March Tirreno-Adriatico  Italy 1 week stage * * *
Mid March Milan-Sanremo  Italy 1 day * * *
Early April Ronde van Vlaanderen  Belgium 1 day * * * * * *
Early April Vuelta al País Vasco  Spain 1 week stage * * * * * *
Late March - early April Gent-Wevelgem  Belgium 1 day * * * * * *
Early April Paris-Roubaix  France 1 day * * *
Mid April Amstel Gold Race  Netherlands 1 day * * * * * *
Mid April La Flèche Wallonne  Belgium 1 day * * *
Mid-late April Liège-Bastogne-Liège  Belgium 1 day * * *
Late April - early May Tour de Romandie  Switzerland 1 week stage * * * * * *
May - early June Giro d'Italia  Italy 3 week stage * * *
Mid May (2005-2009)
Late March (2010)
Volta a Catalunya  Spain 1 week stage * * * * * *
Early June Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré  France 1 week stage * * * * * *
Mid June Tour de Suisse  Switzerland 1 week stage * * * * * *
Mid June Eindhoven Team Time Trial  Netherlands Team time trial * * * X X X
July Tour de France  France 3 week stage * * *
Late July (2005-06)
August - September (2007-)
Vattenfall Cyclassics
(HEW Cyclassics in 2005)
 Germany 1 day * * * * * *
Early-mid August Deutschland Tour  Germany 1 week stage * * * * X X
Mid August Clásica de San Sebastián  Spain 1 day * * * * * *
Mid-late August
(Early August in 2005)
Eneco Tour  Belgium
 Netherlands
1 week stage * * * * * *
Late August GP Ouest-France  France 1 day * * * * * *
Late August - September Vuelta a España  Spain 3 week stage * * *
Early-mid September
Early August from 2009
Tour de Pologne  Poland 1 week stage * * * * * *
Early-mid September Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec  Canada 1 day X X X X X *
Early-mid September Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal  Canada 1 day X X X X X *
Early October Züri-Metzgete  Switzerland 1 day * * X X X X
Early-mid October Paris-Tours  France 1 day * * *
Mid October Giro di Lombardia  Italy 1 day * * *

List of current UCI ProTour teams

Source:[6]

Code Official Team Name License holder Country Licence expiry Website
ALM Ag2r-La Mondiale EUSRL France Cyclisme  France 2012 ag2r-cyclisme.com (French)
AST Astana Olympus Sarl  Kazakhstan 2010 astana-cyclingteam.com
GCE Caisse d'Epargne Abarca Sports S.L.  Spain 2010 cyclisme-caisse-epargne.fr (French)
EUS Euskaltel-Euskadi Fundación Ciclista Euskadi  Spain 2010 fundacioneuskadi.com (Spanish)
FDJ Française des Jeux Société de Gestion l’Echappée  France 2010 francaisedesjeux.com (French)
FUJ Footon-Servetto-Fuji GM Bikes SA  Spain 2010 fuji-servetto.com
GRM Garmin-Transitions Slipstream Sports, LLC  United States 2011 slipstreamsports.com
LAM Lampre-Farnese Vini Total Cycling Limited  Italy 2010[1] www.teamlampre.com
LIQ Liquigas-Doimo Liquigas Sport Spa  Italy 2010 teamliquigas.it (Italian)
QST Quick Step Esperanza Bvba  Belgium 2011 qsi-cycling.com
RAB Rabobank Rabo Wielerploegen  Netherlands 2012 www.rabosport.nl/wielrennen
SIL Omega Pharma-Lotto Belgian Cycling Company sa  Belgium 2011 silence-lotto.be
THR Team HTC-Columbia High Road Sports, Inc.  United States 2010 highroadsports.com
KAT Team Katusha Katusha Management SA  Russia 2010 katushateam.com
MRM Team Milram VeloCity GmbH  Germany 2010 team-milram.de
RSH Team RadioShack Capital Sports and Entertainment  United States 2013 livestrong.com/teamradioshack/
SAX Team Saxo Bank Riis Cycling A/S  Denmark 2011 team-saxobank.com
SKY Team Sky Tour Racing Limited  United Kingdom 2013 teamsky.com

List of former UCI ProTour teams

Code Official Team Name Country UCI ProTour Years
BTL Bouygues Télécom  France 2005–2009
COF Cofidis  France 2005–2009
C.A Crédit Agricole  France 2005–2008
DSC Discovery Channel  United States 2005–2007
FAS Fassa Bortolo  Italy 2005
GST Gerolsteiner  Germany 2005–2008
LST Liberty Seguros-Würth  Spain 2005
PHO Phonak  Switzerland 2005–2006
UNI Unibet.com  Sweden 2007

ProTour Results

Year Top Ranked Individual Top Ranked Team Top Ranked Nation
2005  Danilo Di Luca (ITA)
Liquigas-Bianchi
Team CSC  Italy
2006  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
Team CSC  Spain
2007  Cadel Evans (AUS)
Predictor-Lotto
Team CSC  Spain
2008  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
Caisse d'Epargne
Caisse d'Epargne  Spain
2009  Alberto Contador (ESP)
Astana
Astana  Spain

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Lampre-Farnese Vini are operating on a temporary licence from late January to 31 March, and were absent from the Tour Down Under
  2. ^ Cycling teams to take part in Paris-Nice (in Dutch)
  3. ^ UCI asks teams to boycott Paris-Nice (in Dutch)
  4. ^ Agence France-Presse, July 15, 2008. "17 teams will not seek ProTour licenses for '09"
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ UCI Press Service (2009-11-26). "UCI ProTour - seventeen teams registered by the UCI". UCI.ch. http://www.uci.ch/Modules/ENews/ENewsDetails.asp?id=NjY0Nw&MenuId=MTI2Mjc. Retrieved 2009-12-04. 

External links

Bibliography


Simple English

The UCI ProTour is a series of bicycle road races organised by the world governing body the International Cycling Federation (Union Cycliste Internationale - the UCI)

The ProTour is the top grade of races for the top 20 cycling teams.

The ProTour includes one day races, time trials, and stage races. It started in 2005 and replaced the old world championship series which did not include stage races.

All of the ProTour races are in Europe, but the teams come from Europe and the United States. At the moment it is hard to move up from the Continental circuits to the ProTour, but in the future teams from Africa, Australia or Asia could take part in the ProTour.

List of current UCI ProTour teams

Code Official Team Name Country Website
AGR AG2R Prévoyance ag2r-cyclisme.com
AST Astana Team team-astana.eu
BTL Bouygues Télécom equipebouyguestelecom.fr
GCE Caisse d'Epargne cyclisme-caisse-epargne.fr
COF Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone equipe-cofidis.com
C.A Crédit Agricole credit-agricole.fr
CSC Team CSC team-csc.com
DSC Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team team.discovery.com
EUS Euskaltel-Euskadi fundacioneuskadi.com
FDJ Française des Jeux fdjeux.com
GST Gerolsteiner gerolsteiner.de
LAM Lampre-Fondital lampre-fondital.com
LIQ Liquigas teamliquigas.it
MRM Team Milram team-milram.de
PRL Predictor-Lotto davitamon-lotto.com
QSI Quick Step-Innergetic qsi-cycling.com
RAB Rabobank rabobank.nl (Dutch)
SDV Saunier Duval-Prodir saunierduvalteam.com
TMO T-Mobile Team t-mobile-team.com
UNI Unibet.com Cycling Team unibetcycling.com
UCI ProTour

2005 | 2006 | 2007

Paris-Nice | Tirreno-Adriatico | Milan-Sanremo | Ronde van Vlaanderen | Vuelta al País Vasco | Gent-Wevelgem | Paris-Roubaix | Amstel Gold Race | La Flèche Wallonne | Liège-Bastogne-Liège | Tour de Romandie | Giro d'Italia | Volta a Catalunya | Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré | Tour de Suisse | Eindhoven TTT | Tour de France | Clásica de San Sebastián | Deutschland Tour | Vattenfall Cyclassics | Eneco Tour of Benelux | Vuelta a España | GP Ouest-France | Tour de Pologne | Züri-Metzgete | Paris-Tours | Giro di Lombardia








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