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Five WorldTour teams could be cut from 2017 Tour de France

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme says the 2017 Tour will trim its peloton size to 20 teams and as few as 13 WorldTour squads.

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Tour de France organizer ASO may invite only 13 WorldTour teams, and 20 teams total, to the 2017 Tour de France, director Christian Prudhomme told Velo101.com on Friday.

ASO announced Friday that it would pull its races out of the WorldTour in 2017. In doing so, it will no longer have to abide by WorldTour rules, which require it to invite all 18 WorldTour teams.

“We have freedom with our invitations, with the constraint that we can’t select more than 70 percent WorldTour teams,” Prudhomme said. “For us this won’t be a problem. With 13 WorldTour teams, instead of 18 at the start of the Tour de France, it opens the floodgates to second-division teams.”

In fact, ASO could invite 14 WorldTour teams, if it wanted to use its maximum 70 percent allocation in a field of 20 squads.

ASO previously backed a plan to decrease team size to eight riders at grand tours, and it is now advocating for a decrease in total teams as well. This would reduce the size of the Tour peloton by 16-18 riders.

“It permits us to take fewer teams, 20 in total, implementing what we want, namely a smaller peloton at the start. First, for safety reasons. The other races get other teams, and everybody wins,” Prudhomme said.