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Grand Tour vs. Pro Tour, Round #1,947

I promised myself I would lose interest in this topic, but unfortunately CyclingNews' main story has a pretty good summation of the issues and a preview of the upcoming negotiations next week.

If nothing else, I now understand what the problem is...

The grand tours are a bunch of whiny wussies. They are accustomed to getting a lot of attention, and are concerned that the new PCT will cut into it. We only have one kid, but apparently this dynamic is similar to the reaction of a first child when the second one comes along.

The CyclingNews story captures the Grand Tours' stated objections:

In their joint statement of December 9, the organizers also claimed the UCI ProTour series was "not credible on a sports level, because all the 2005 ProTour events - be it one-day or three-week races - are awarded the same number of points." The statement said that it was also "unjust, because the teams like Comunidad Valenciana, who won the Vuelta [teams classification - ed.], or Panaria who won Tirreno Adriatico, were deprived of their points because they had no ProTour licence."

The first argument sounds like the pointless arguments people in this country distract themselves with concerning college football. Everybody has a complaint with whatever system someone else came up with, because it's just too easy to criticize. The second point does even less for me -- we shouldn't have a pro tour because nobody can agree who the 20th best team is?

Moreover, these objections sound like procedural points of contention meant to mask some underlying concern about the substance. If they disagreed with the substantive idea of a season-long championship, why wouldn't they say so instead of whining about the precise allocation of points or decisions at the bottom of the team listings? My hunch is, they either recognize the merit of the PCT -- season-long competitions have been around forever, be they the World Cup, the Super Prestige Pernod, or whatever -- or they know their real concerns are too embarassing to air.

The other problem is negotiating TV rights. Hm, on second thought, maybe this is all about money...