10 to 12 WorldTour teams expected to attend

Teams organisation AIGCP has struck a deal with the UCI to prevent a potential boycott of the team time trial at the World Championships in Bergen, Norway next month.

As was the case in the 2016 World Championships in Qatar, the UCI risked not having the WorldTour teams in the team time trial event with the teams asking for appropriate compensation and freedom of attendance.

“Last year it was a last-minute deal, but this year we found a solution which included two key principles for the teams,” Ivan Spekenbrink, president of the AIGCP told Cycling Weekly. “The teams wanted fair starting conditions and the freedom to chose to race or not.

“This year, the third pillar was that a solution needed to be found early enough for the teams to race, without it, it could have been possible the teams wouldn’t race.”

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The UCI re-introduced the team time trial in 2012 and enjoyed early success with a rivalry between teams Quick-Step Floors and BMC Racing.

However in 2016 teams balked at the long trip and huge costs involved. The UCI replied by agreeing to cover some costs and making attendance voluntary. Only 10 out of the 18 WorldTour teams ended up racing.

The situation did not reflect well on the UCI’s prized event and both sides wanted a better solution for 2017.

The governing body stopped saying that teams must attend and even gave more expense money for the teams that do race. Exact figures are difficult to come by, it should be in line with what teams receive for attending a WorldTour event.

WorldTour points will not be awarded. Of the WorldTour 18 teams, 10 to 12 should participate on September 17 in Bergen, alongside other teams from the lower ranks.

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Spekenbrink said that having all the WorldTour teams would be impossible this late in to the season.

“It requires time and an early agreement so you can plan and work towards it,” he added. “The teams needed a fair agreement in order to race. It makes a difference when you have an early agreement.

“We need to have an earlier agreement [for the 2018 Worlds in Austria] and the willingness to get that solution early. You need an early agreement and fair conditions so that the teams have time to prepare to be at their best on the start line.”