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Thread: Risk, Sponsorship, and the Pro Tour

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    Default Risk, Sponsorship, and the Pro Tour

    The Paris-Nice start lists were announced today, and neither Milram nor BMC were included. That leaves out some big time riders and/or their teams.

    Which brings up another point. It seems that a significant number of high level riders are now on teams that aren't part of the Pro Tour proper, notably Hushovd and Sastre at Cervelo and Evans and Hincapie at BMC. From some perspectives, that doesn't really matter since the grand tours aren't part of the pro tour anymore and the directors can invite whoever they please. But it also means that good teams/riders can get left out. For example, LPR (Petacchi and Di Luca) wasn't getting into the TdF last year even if Di Luca would have been clean at the Giro. Basically, nobody's guaranteed anything.

    The general vibe seems to be that the UCI and the ProTour should simply go away. The UCI is dumb in a number of ways, but having the big events guaranteed to a set of teams at least encouraged investment into cycling because the investors knew that they'd get exposure in the big races. Without the ProTour controlling the big races investors are taking a significant risk sponsoring a team that may not generate top level exposure. Consequently, I think, the "minor" Pro Tour teams (i.e. Footon) likely have an operating budget smaller than the big Continental squads (i.e. BMC and Cervelo).

    Perhaps this opens up the field in a healthy way so that more flowers can bloom. But the lack of certainty seems to discourage investment in marginal teams. If I were writing the checks for Milram I know I'd be frustrated that there will be Vacansoleil jerseys in Paris-Nice, but not Milram ones. Perhaps a beefed up ProTour might still be good for something.

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    The Protour was instrumental in killing pro cycling in Spain. For races like the Vuelta, Tour of the Basque country, San Sebastian, etc, they would have to invite teams like Lotto, Quickstep, Bouygues Telecom, etc. who would send a team of neopros and undercard riders....Left out of the races were Continental Pro teams with riders who could pull a top 10 in any grand tour....

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