The candidates have applied to be part of the top tier of cycling for three seasons from next year

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The UCI has announced that 21 candidates from four continents have applied for WorldTour status for the three seasons from 2017 to 2019.

The governing body says that events were offered the opportunity to apply for a three year licence as part of attempted reforms to men’s professional road cycling.

The events in question will be under scrutiny for the duration of the 2016 season. The assessments will follow a range of criteria including “technical quality of races, their role in the stategic development and promotion of the WorldTour, and the narrative of the season”, according to the UCI.

Existing WorldTour events will also be issued with a three year licence.

UCI President Brian Cookson stated that not only are the reforms an opportunity to grow the calendar, but also “create an environment where new investment can come into the sport.”

Making the sport appealing to fans and financially viable is a challenge teams and organisations face. This is particularly the case in events where there is a disparity between prize money for men’s and women’s races; a timetable for addressing this should be set.

Tour de France organiser ASO has already expressed its opposition to the reforms by removing its events from the WorldTour calendar.

Such a move would give ASO more control over which teams it can invite to its races.