Team Milram will not start Paris-Nice this season, the race organizers Amaury Sport Organisation informed the German ProTour team on Thursday. At the same time, the ASO assured the team that they will be invited to all other races the ASO arranges. Among these are the classics Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogen-Liège as well as the tours Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de France.
"Jean-François Pescheux of the ASO informed me of the decision over the phone. But he also guaranteed us a starting permission for all other ASO races," Gerry van Gerwen, General Manager for Team Milram stated. "In all the ASO races, different teams shall get a chance to prove themselves worthy of getting one of the much sought-after wild cards for the Tour de France. This year, there are more high-class teams vying for a place at the Tour than ever before. Naturally, it's disappointing for us, but of course we have to respect the ASO's decision. But it also means that we have to find an alternative racing program to Paris-Nice and revise the riders' schedules for the next races."
The first 17 teams of the 2009 season's UCI ranking will start Paris-Nice this year, as well as three additional French teams and two teams who got a wild card for the tour. Milram's next two races, the Tour of Qatar (7-12 February/UCI category 2.1) and the Tour of Oman (14-19 February/UCI category 2.1) are also organized by the ASO.