Eighteen of the world’s biggest, best teams will boycott the UCI’s team time trial world championships, scheduled for October 9 in Doha, Qatar. The association of professional cycling teams, AIGCP, announced Wednesday, just before the start of the Olympics time trials in Rio, that its WorldTeam members ratified the decision to protest the UCI. The 18 WorldTour teams, including the 2015 podium finishers BMC Racing, Etixx – Quick-Step, and Movistar (first-third, respectively), are not expected to race the event in 2016.
“UCI failed again to address the demands of WorldTeams which are compelled under UCI regulations to participate in UCI’s TTT World Championships at their expense,” AIGCP’s statement read.
The conflict has sprung out of the expanded WorldTour calendar. On August 2, the UCI announced 10 additional events for 2017. WorldTour teams do not want to be compelled to participate in all events on the 37-race calendar, which spans three continents.
The statement ended with a strong condemnation of the UCI: “The abovementioned terms of participation which exist nowhere else in the sport are undeniably abusive and reveal the abuse of power which UCI incurs in when it enforces them solely for the one road competition it operates. All WorldTeams are expected to skip the TTT World Championships until these abusive practices are abolished.”
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is of course disappointed with such a statement and we continue to expect excellent participation in this year’s UCI Road World Championships Team Time Trial,” UCI said in a written statement. It has held the TTT worlds since 2012. “The UCI Road World Championships is a celebration for the whole cycling family and the UCI, as a non-profit organisation, reinvests any surpluses in the development of the sport of cycling.”