Hein: Major tours need the Pro Tour
Friday, November 19, 2004 12.00am
UCI president Hein Verbruggen says he thinks the major tours will come into the Pro Tour fold, insis
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE International Cycling Union (UCI) president Hein Verbruggen has said that the only race that can survive beyond the bounds of the Pro Tour is the Tour de France. Speaking during the presentation of the Pro Tour's new team time trial event in Eindhoven earlier this week, Verbruggen added that he thought both the Giro and Vuelta would be seriously undermined if they do not form part of next year's elite pro circuit. Verbruggen, who said that he has no further meetings planned with the organisers of the three major tours, who have presented a united front against several aspects of the Pro Tour, stated: "Some events don't need the Pro Tour, while others will not be able to get by without it. In the first category I can see only one event: the Tour. As far as the Giro and Vuelta are concerned, it is in their interest to become part of the Pro Tour." Verbruggen shrugged off ongoing suggestions of lack of support for the Pro Tour. "Although some people still aren't behind our project, the UCI is not alone on this. We currently have the support of 19 teams, who have decided to invest a lot of money. The management of these teams have even told us that they plan to speak to the organisers of the Tour, Giro and Vuelta. The organisers of the major tours will rethink their decision. When it comes down to it, they will need to be in the Pro Tour." - World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound is set to be elected for another three-year term at a meeting in Montreal, Canada, this weekend. Pound has been WADA president since 1999 and is not being opposed in this latest election. The meeting is also set to elect its first-ever vice-president, with Danish minister of culture Brian Mikkelsen almost certainly guaranteed the position as the only candidate standing. Pound, 62, told a press conference that Mikkelsen "will fill an intermediary role for a year while governments consult with each other about potential candidates for this role in the longer term and, at the end of my mandate, perhaps even to replace me."
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