Eight Of World's Top Teams Have Opted In On World Series Cycling Project
Billionaire Czech businessman Zdenek Bakala's project of “creative destruction” for the reform of professional cycling "moved a step closer to reality in Brussels" on Monday, according to Jeremy Whittle of the LONDON TIMES. "Eight of the world’s leading teams, including Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Mark Cavendish’s new team, and the Garmin-Sharp team, managed by Jonathan Vaughters, whose confession of doping and testimony was a cornerstone of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation into Lance Armstrong, have opted in to the World Series Cycling project, initiated by Gifted, the sports promoter, and supported by Bakala." The vision of the teams, Bakala and Gifted "is to establish 10 four-day grand prix events around the world, structured in much the same way as the Formula One motor-racing calendar." Gifted Chair Jonathan Price described the series as “cycling’s answer to Twenty20 cricket,” and he was optimistic that despite notable absentees -- Team Sky or any French professional team -- the series will "ultimately be adopted by all 18 of cycling’s elite teams." The 10 grands prix, envisaged to start within three years, will dovetail with cycling's six “monument” Classics and all three of Europe’s Grand Tours, of Italy, France and Spain. Promoters of Italy’s leading races are part of the project, but Tour de France promoters and several other leading events have had a "lukewarm response" (LONDON TIMES, 12/11).