French newspaper L?Equipe has reported that 17 of the 18 ProTour teams will make a mass abandon of cycling?s top league in 2009

The dramatic news broke after the teams met on the Tour?s rest-day at Pau.

An agreement has apparently been reached between the squads and the organisers of the three major Tours, all of them outside the UCI?s ProTour system.

L’Equipe said the only squad who did not sign the agreement was Astana, currently not taking part in the Tour.

The ProTour was initially conceived in 2004 and started in 2005. However, successive breakaways from the league have left it without several of cycling?s top events – such as the Tour de France.

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Grand Tours out of ProTour