November 3, 2009 – Steve Bauer’s Planet Energy squad will most likely be clad in National Team colors instead of the usual green and white at next year’s ProTour events in Quebec. The UCI’s regulations states that only ProTour teams have priority at ProTour races, even if the host country does not have a ProTour team to enter.
The controversy arose as Serge Arsenault, organizer of the Quebec races, prematurely granted Planet Energy entry once the ProTours were confirmed. “Originally we thought the rules were more open,” stated Directeur Sportif Bauer. “Serge and I wrote comprehensive arguments to open the door to our Canadian-Continental team, as we have no other Canadian-based Continental pro team”.
The UCI responded that they’re not ready to adequately test Continental teams at this point. Only professional Continental teams with wild-card status and the host country’s national team will be invited after the ProTour teams.
Planet Energy, even before hearing this news had offered to participate in the Biological Passport Program for 2010, with an annual price-tag of 60,000 Euros, in an attempt to showcase their team to the UCI. “On the positive side we can most likely have our strongest riders on the eight-man National squad as riders like [Dom] Rollin, [Michael] Barry, [Ryder] Hesjedal, [Svein] Tuft, and [Christian] Meier will have to ride for their respective squads,” added Bauer.
Bauer looks forward to working with the National team on the project. “Our sponsors now realize that we are competing at the highest level and maybe we can now step up and join the ranks of pro Continental teams in 2011.”
At this time the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) has to submit the prospective names of riders who may make this eight-man squad next September, as they can be potentially tested at any time during the 2010 season.
Bauer is positive on the UCI possibly changing their rules outside of Europe to include the host country inviting Continental teams, but states, “The most important thing at the end of the day is that these riders have a chance to compete at a race of this level in their own backyard.”