The UCI's ProTour series appears to be officially dead after all 17 teams at the Tour de France decided to leave the series and not renew their licences next season.
"It has been decided unanimously not to renew the ProTour licences for the 2009 season," read a joint statement from the teams.
The teams met Tuesday in Pau during the Tour's first rest day and indicated that they would form a new alliance with the three Grand Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation, RCS Sport and Unipublic. "The teams are working to develop a new system of organisation of professional cycling," the statement added.
The only ProTour team not present at the Tour de France, Astana, is also expected to leave the ProTour. "If everybody decides so, I can't imagine Astana will not follow," Astana chief press officer Philippe Maertens told Reuters.
UCI President Pat McQuaid told Reuters that all the teams could face exclusion from the UCI. "We'll deal with that according to the regulations," said McQuaid. "They face exclusion from the international federation. It is something we are going to discuss."