Eleven teams named for Pro Tour
The first 11 teams have been provisionally selected for next year’s Pro Tour, none are Italian.
Following a meeting at their headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced on Thursday the provisional eleven professional teams of the 18 who will participate in the new Pro Tour in 2005. The 11 are: Quick Step (Belgium); fdjeux.com, Cofidis and Crdit Agricole (France); Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile(Germany); Rabobank (Holland); Illes Balears-Banesto and Liberty Seguros (Spain); Phonak (Switzerland); US Postal-Discovery (USA). There are no Italian teams currently signed up; Fassa Bortolo and Saeco have both decided to opt out of the Pro Tour, while the French Brioches La Boulangere set-up is waiting to find out if it will have a replacement sponsor for next year. Ag2r, Denmark’s CSC and Euskaltel-Euskadi of Spain are also yet to be signed up. “These other candidates do not currently fulfil the requirements set by the UCI,” cycling’s governing body said. “But the teams still have the opportunity to complete their dossiers up until the day of the definitive decision [in November].” Vincent Lavenu, manager of the French Ag2r team, however, is not yet sure what the requirements are that his squad hasn’t fulfilled. “The UCI have left me an opening,” he told French newspaper L’Equipe, “and they tell me that they will inform me next week of the reasons why they haven’t selected us. I’m not giving up hope yet.”