Shorts: ProTour, Robbie, Pineau

Spanish race organiser says the ProTour has done a lot of his races, McEwen victim of unprovoked att

Spanish race organiser says the ProTour has done a lot of his races, McEwen victim of unprovoked att

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Tour of the Basque Country and San Sebastian Classic organiser Jaime Ugarte has added his voice to those who have spoken out in favour of the ProTour, telling Spanish daily AS that the series "is a good thing and will continue to improve".

He said both of his events had been boosted by being part of the series this season. "We had better participation from the top teams, more of the world's press present and a bigger TV audience. We have done the same as before, but the ProTour has boosted us a little bit more," he commented.

Ugarte admitted the ProTour had created problems for organisers whose races are outside the series, but thought this could be changed with some tweaks to the format. "I think that the possibility of promotion and relegation should be explored, and of races as well as teams. And also the number of teams should be reduced to 18, so that the organisers of ProTour races can invite more teams," he said.

- Robbie McEwen received a black eye and split lip when he was set on by three men as he waited for a taxi after a night out on Australia's Gold Coast at the weekend. McEwen was the victim of an unprovoked attack that only ended when he took to his heels and managed to run away from his aggressors. The Davitamon-Lotto sprinter's wounds are superficial and are unlikely to affect his return to training next month.

- Highly rated Bouygues Telecom rider Jrme Pineau has spoken out for the second time in recent weeks against what he believes is a culture of doping within the sport. Tipped as the French rider most likely to make an impact in the major tours, the 25 year old has struggled to make an impact this season and has told Ouest France that he would quit the sport completely if he could find another way to make a living.

"The sport is being killed by those who are doping, not by those who speak out," said the young Frenchman. "I don't like cycling now as much as I used to. The only thing that keeps me doing it is the money, it's my career. Cycling is not a clean sport. You can be successful on one day if you are clean, but not in stage races. Of that I am sure."

Another case of a complaining Frenchman or a rider whose views should be taken seriously by all concerned with the sport? Let us have your views.

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