The three Grand Tours have a big edge in the power game over the ProTour. They have quantity and quality on their side being the organizers of 11 of the 27 ProTour events. The eleven events contain some of the most prestigious cycling races on the calendar.
The Grand Tour planning session
Well, the UCI is looking like they are going to try to remove one advantage, quantity. Pat McQuaid is making noises of a global ProTour. One notable stop, the United States.
“I wouldn’t say it is a long way away,” he stated. “The initial idea of the ProTour was to assist in the globalisation of the sport, to bring the sport at the highest level into as many markets as is possible. It was natural at the beginning that it could only be done at a European level, letting things develop there initially. Once that was done, we could then see what interest there is in bringing the ProTour to foreign shores.”
USA cycling wasted no time in helping Pat decide where to put another ProTour event. Steve Johnson, chief executive officer of USA Cycling:
“This forward-looking vision and direction from the UCI is exactly what is required for professional cycling to reach new markets and grow in stature and popularity worldwide. We are very supportive of the vision for the sport expressed by Mr. McQuaid and believe that the U.S. is perfectly positioned and prepared to be a player in the expansion of the ProTour outside of its present structure.”
Obviously the Tour of California will not rival the Giro, Tour de France, and Vuelta any time soon but if you want to dilute someone’s power, dilute thier market share.