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Teams organization at odds with UCI over WorldTour reforms

UCI reforms hit roadblock as the AIGCP teams group announces its disagreement with expanded WorldTour schedule, required participation.

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MILAN (VN) — The AIGCP, an association representing pro cycling teams, will not go along with the UCI’s planned WorldTour reforms in 2017 if every team must race in its top-level events.

The group said in a press release Thursday that if the UCI plans on introducing more races to its WorldTour calendar, which already counts 27 events, then it would not agree to required participation for every one of the 18 top teams.

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WorldTour teams from Sky to BMC Racing participate in the series, which includes races from the Tour Down Under in January to the Giro di Lombardia in October.

The UCI is expected to add new events to its WorldTour calendar in 2017 as part of its controversial reforms. The RideLondon-Surrey Classic in August has been rumored to be among the new events. Also, the UCI may add events in the U.S., as well as the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman in February, and the Abu Dhabi Tour in October.

Teams may not go along with the UCI if participation rules are not sorted soon.

In a June 23 press release, following a Pro Cycling Council (PCC) meeting, the UCI said that all of these WorldTour events would be required races for the WorldTour-level teams. This is currently the situation with the UCI’s 27 events and 18 teams, causing a burden for some teams with overlapping events at times.

“On the contrary, it was confirmed that newly-promoted WorldTour events bear the full responsibility for securing participation of at least 10 WorldTeams with no coercive mechanisms,” said the team’s group today.

“The above has profound practical consequences as the 2017 WorldTour calendar, which was approved by the PCC on June 22nd was done so under the premise of no mandatory participation in newly-promoted WorldTour events. AIGCP consequently maintains that any subsequent alteration to these participation rules necessarily calls into question the related decision on the 2017 WorldTour calendar.”

The teams group is one of three associations with representation in the 12-member PCC council created for reforming the WorldTour. The group said that it wrote the UCI to say that its June 23 press release was wrong.

The reforms would also reduce the number of teams in the WorldTour from 18 to 17 by 2017 and to 16 by 2018. They would allow the top-ranked Professional Continental team to enter the WorldTour and likewise, for the lowest ranked WorldTour team to be demoted.

The AIGCP teams group went along with the decisions, but found “a significant misrepresentation of one key decision.”

The group’s release read, “The AIGCP maintains that it is not the case that the PCC approved the principle of setting up for newly-promoted WorldTour events ‘[…] participation rules which will ensure that a minimum of 10 UCI WorldTeams take part […]’ nor is it the case that the PCC agreed to examine such a proposal ‘[…] at the next meeting of the PCC.’”

It is not the first roadblock for the UCI. The ASO, organizer of the Tour de France and several other top events like Paris-Roubaix, announced that it would pull out of the 2017 WorldTour over disagreements. Only in June, did the UCI and ASO reach an agreement.

All appeared to be going smoothly for the governing body and its 2017 reforms until today.