The 19 ProTour teams have agreed on a 15-point ethical code that could see riders who test positivePICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE The 19 teams that will take part in next season's ProTour circuit have agreed to sign up to an ethical code that will be put in place at the start of 2005. An agreement was reached yesterday when representatives from the 19 teams and the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups (AIGCP) met in Montreux, Switzerland. According to AIGCP vice-president Roger Legeay, "the accord we have agreed takes a hard line with regard to an ethical code. The teams wanted to go as far as they could from the legal point of view and tackle fundamental problems." Among the 15 measures agreed at Monday's meeting was the suspension of a rider as soon as it is announced they have tested positive and the sacking of any rider who is confirmed as positive at the end of a testing procedure. In addition, any rider who is sacked in this way will be blacklisted from riding for any other ProTour team for four years. The length of this ban could be reduced at a later time depending on recommendations provided on each individual case by national anti-doping agencies. These sanctions will apply to any doping cases that occur from the start of the 2005 season onwards. Although this code will, for the moment, only be applied to the 27 ProTour races, the ProTour teams have also requested that any continental team that is invited to compete in a ProTour event must also abide by the code or be prevented from racing. A proposal for any team where a rider tests positive to be docked ProTour points was rejected in favour of passing any decision on punishment of a team to the International Cycling Union's licensing commission, which decides on ProTour entrants. This topic and others are likely to be under discussion at the UCI's Swiss HQ in Aigle today, when the ProTour teams are scheduled to meet the UCI's top brass. AIGCP president Manolo Saiz said after the meeting that the next objective will be to present the code to the UCI's management committee for approval. He also stressed that the teams would be working with their own code of conduct that goes further than the ethical code on several points.