Froome, I'm a big proponent of globalization, and the sport needs the UCI to accomplish this. But would it not be better if the UCI helped existing race organizers expand their businesses by giving them the chance to own/operate the expansion races? In any case, the answer to your questions is, yes I think it's a step down the right path, but the execution of the overall globalization plan is far from ideal.
What's interesting about last yrs classics team, is that we got a lot of hype, but the reality was, there was not one rider on the team in 2011 that had ever won a classic! Not even Thor. Vansummeren is the first. People don't realize that in races like Flanders and Gent-Wevelegem 2011, all of our key workers were dropped fairly early, leaving us with few options. Now, for 2012, there's a lot less sizzle, but a lot more steak. Maaskant has returned from injury (he didn't race any classics in 2011) Haussler is much better, Vanmarcke is fast improving... we have a solid core, which will allow us to play the numbers game. We won't win with bravado solo moves, but we can win with carefully nuanced tactics...the type that **** people off!
If dan can control the allergies that affect him from March-June, then he could become one of the best riders in the World. Dan's talent and engine are second to none and his TT is greatly improved (you'll see...) BUT...he has to get the allergies under control, which is hard. you can win many races breathing through a straw.