UCI and ASO reach final agreement over WorldTour reforms
ASO races, which include the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, will feature in the 2017 WorldTour calendar despite the organisation declaring in late 2015 that it would withdraw the events from the UCI’s top tier in protest of proposed reforms.
At yesterday’s meeting of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) in Geneva, Switzerland, stakeholders of men’s professional road cycling agreed on the next steps of the reform and approved the 2017 UCI WorldTour calendar.
The calendar will comprise all existing UCI WorldTour races – including those in the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) portfolio. In addition, the UCI WorldTour will welcome a number of other events in 2017 which will be awarded initial three-year licences. The full 2017 UCI WorldTour calendar, which will be announced shortly, features a wide range of top-level races that will further globalise the UCI WorldTour and strengthen the season-long narrative.
UCI WorldTeams will be given a two-year licence for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The number of UCI WorldTeams will be set at 17 for 2017, with the objective to reach 16 a year later. From the 2019 season onwards, the number of UCI WorldTeams will be set at 16. From the end of the 2018 season onwards, there will be an annual challenge system, based on an overall annual sporting classification, between the last ranked UCI WorldTeam and the top Pro Continental Team to enter as a UCI WorldTeam in the following season. In the event that a UCI WorldTeam drops out of the top tier, that team will have the right to participate in all the following season’s UCI WorldTour events, meaning that UCI WorldTeams will have stability for the three seasons 2017 to 2019.
As of 2017 season, all existing UCI WordTour events will have all UCI WorldTeams participating and for new UCI WorldTour events, participation rules which will ensure that a minimum of 10 UCI WorldTeams take part will be proposed by the UCI for approval at the next meeting of the PCC.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “This marks another important step in the reform of men’s professional cycling, and I am very pleased that we now have our stakeholders behind what represents the future of our sport. I am delighted that we can build on the heritage and prestige of the UCI WorldTour, while also welcoming newer but already successful events taking place in and outside Europe. We are committed to continuing the consultation with all stakeholders on various details of the reform.”
“I am very pleased that the proposed reform has reached a large consensus,” declared David Lappartient, President of the PCC. “Our stakeholders have agreed on a vision that will reinforce the globalisation of cycling, ensure stability for teams and organisers, while preserving the principles of an open system that will allow access to UCI WorldTour level based on sporting results. It is a great step in making cycling a more attractive and global sport, while respecting its roots and history.”
AIOCC President, Christian Prudhomme added: “I am delighted that an agreement could be found that will help the sport of cycling as a whole.”