December 9/05 2:27 am - ProTour Trouble?, Kalentieva to New Team, Birthday
Posted by Editor on 12/9/05
ProTour in Trouble?
The organizers of the three Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta Espana) announced today that they have abandoned attempts to work out an agreement with the UCI over participation in the ProTour, and will pull all of their events out of the ProTour, effective immediately. This has a potentially devastating effect on the ProTour since, in addition to the Grand Tours themselves, the organizers own Paris Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy.
The disagreement has existed since the UCI announced the creation of the ProTour, with the organizers seeing the system as an attempt by the UCI to dictate how the races would be run, and which teams the organizers would be required to invite to the races (potentially forcing them to leave out popular local squads. The UCI argues that the ProTour is a necessary effort to create a 'Premier League' for professional cycling.
The Grand Tour organizers have stated that the top 14 ProTour teams will still receive entry to their events for 2006, with a revised system in place for 2007. A major prize pool of two million Euros has also been announced by the Grand Tour organizers, which will encourage teams to put riders in all of their events. In addition, teams which compete in all three Tours in 2006 will each receive 100,000 Euros.
Irina Kalentieva Joins Team Ergon-Topeak
Irina Kalentieva has signed a contract for three years with Germanyâ€šs new MTB equipe Ergon-Topeak. The team was founded early in 2004 and was then called Ergon-Trek. Best-known team member was (and is) German top rider Katrin Schwing.
With Irina on board, Ergon-Topeak intends to become a contender in international races. So far the team has concentrated on big races in Germany, Switzerland and other countries in central Europe. Only Katrin Schwing had some appearances at World Cup races. Hopes are, that Irina will be able to participate in the Olympic race in Bejing 2008. The former member of the Multivan Merida Racing Team did not get a renewal of her contract with that team.
Currently, Kalentieva is 3rd in the UCI ranking, was 4th in World Cup 2005 and won the German national series.
Happy Birthday to.... Ryder Hesjedal, celebrating today.