PARIS (AFP) — Cycling’s world governing body has said it is against plans to create a new World Series in the sport, amid reports of talks about a possible breakaway competition featuring top teams.
“The UCI does not want a league,” International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid said. “But we still have to develop professional cycling and it’s important to work together.”
The proposal for a World Series is said to include plans to restructure the sport, introducing new races and giving teams a greater share of broadcasting revenue rather than the current system, where money from television rights goes to organizers.
Britain’s Team Sky, which has 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and runner-up Chris Froome among its riders, is reportedly in favor of a change in the structure of professional cycling.
A dozen other teams are also said to be interested by the project.
Team Sky is backed by British satellite broadcaster Sky television, whose sports arm currently holds the rights to broadcast English Premier League football.
France’s David Lappartient, the newly elected head of the European Cycling Union (UEC), which represents national cycling federations on the continent, said they were “very hostile” to a World Series event.
Sources also said that those behind the new competition — Briton Jonathan
Price and Swiss Thomas Kuerth, who headed a bid to create a European football super-league in the early 2000s — did not have a favorable response from the Tour de France.
The UCI currently runs the elite WorldTour and last December admitted to having talks with a group of investors and lobbyists led by the Czech owner of the Omega-Pharma team, Zdenek Bakala, to overhaul the program. The discussions apparently stalled.