- Cycling teams of this rank: Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
The UCI ProTour was a series of road bicycle races in Europe, Australia and Canada organised by the UCI (International Cycling Union). Created by Hein Verbruggen, former president of the UCI, it comprises a number of 'ProTour' cycling teams, each of whom are required to compete in every round of the series. It was initially the basis of a season long competition for rankings points, created for 2005 to replace the UCI Road World Cup series, which ended at the end of the 2004 season (although the World Cup did not include any stage races). The ProTour was the subject of continuing disputes involving the UCI, cycling teams, and the organizers of the world's most prominent bicycle races (most notably, the Grand Tours), and in 2009 and 2010 the ranking element of the ProTour was superseded by the UCI World Ranking. For 2011, the ProTour and World Ranking were fully merged into the UCI World Tour. ProTour status for teams - relabelled UCI ProTeams - will continue as the highest level of registration, and will carry the right and obligation to participate in all World Tour races.
The ProTour licences are given to a maximum of 20 teams, to which sponsors must commit multiple years of