PROTOUR SPAT CONTINUES AT MILAN-SAN REMO
The UCI, major race organisers and the leading teams signed a peace deal just before Paris-Nice but the war over the future of the ProTour is far from over and resurfaced before the centennial edition of Milan-San Remo.
For the first time for two decades race organiser RCS organised a team presentation in the centre of Milan but half of the teams decided not to turn. The teams complained that riders needed to rest up and have a massage in the early afternoon instead of travelling to the centre of Milan but the protest was clearly a way of making RCS pay for their stance against the ProTour.
With Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and other riders absent, Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), 2006 winner Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) and Mario Cipollini were the stars of the presentation. Cipollini was given a huge cheer for his recent fortieth birthday but criticised the teams and riders who stayed away.
“Who isn’t here has made a mistake, even if there are some fights going. The first people the riders have to show some respect for is the public and the cycling fans,” Cipollini said.
“They people who are always fighting, the race organisers, the teams and the UCI should look at themselves in the mirror think about the cycling fans.”
In a separate polemic race director Angelo Zomegnan decided that team car order during the race would be decided with a draw from the hat rather than by following the UCI ProTour team rankings that have been used in recent years. As a result Sean Yates should have been at the head of the race convoy in the Discovery Channel team but unless the UCI manage to change the order, he will now be down in thirteenth place.
The teams were angry with the change in selection method and their were rumours circulating that they would make a protest, perhaps by boycotting the winner's podium after the race on Saturday.