new European race series

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Herb Dershowitz, Jun 5, 2003.

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  1. UCI plans new European series from 2005

    BERLIN, June 5 (Reuters) - Cycling's ruling body UCI plans to launch a new series of European races
    from 2005 in an effort to make the sport more attractive to sponsors. The new series would comprise
    30 to 50 races which would be entered by 20 to 22 teams, UCI president Hein Verbruggen said on
    Thursday. "We plan to call the new series the UCI Professional Competition and want to put it into
    place from 2005 to 2010," Verbruggen told a news conference in the German city of Coburg, where
    Thursday's third stage of the Tour of Germany started. The teams not allowed to enter the series
    would have to concentrate on minor races. Verbruggen said the reform was aimed at limiting the
    importance of the major races such as the Tour de France, the Giro and the Vuelta, and at
    encouraging sponsors to invest in the sport. "At the moment the sport depends on some 60
    professional teams, some of which only have one sponsor," he said. "There are less and less sponsors
    who can afford to invest in cycling," he added. "There are reluctant to spend millions without
    knowing whether they will be allowed to enter the Tour de France. "Under the new system every team
    in the series will have the right and the obligation to enter every single event." Verbruggen
    unveiled UCI's plans a few days after Italian world champion Mario Cipollini received confirmation
    that he would not ride in this year's Tour de France. Race director Jean-Marie Leblanc upheld his
    decision not to accept his Domina Vacanze team. The problems mentioned by Verbruggen were also
    illustrated by the fate of the German Team Coast stable, whose licence was withdrawn by UCI last
    month for non-payment of riders' salaries. A new team, Bianchi, has since taken over from Team Coast
    and been authorised to enter the Tour. Ullrich and Bianchi are testing their Tour credentials in
    this week's Tour of Germany.

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