The Union Cycliste Internationale’s WorldTour reforms appear to have hit another problem, as the organisation that represents professional cycling teams has been ‘compelled’ to issue a statement distancing itself from a UCI press release published in June relating to new WorldTour rules.
The AIGCP (Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels) has a specific problem with a passage in the UCI press statement issued on June 23 that says new WorldTour events will have a minimum of 10 WorldTour teams taking part in them.
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The AIGCP says that it did not agree to such a proposal when it was discussed as part of a Professional Cycling Council (PCC) meeting on WorldTour reforms.
“AIGCP wishes to state publicly that it cannot endorse the June 23rd UCI press release on the June 22nd decisions adopted by the Professional Cycling Council concerning the 2017 Reform of professional road cycling to the extent that the latter misrepresents one key element of said PCC decisions,” read the AIGCP statement issued on Thursday.
The AIGCP approached the UCI to rectify its statement, but was ‘unsuccessful at obtaining the needed rectification’ so felt it necessary to clarify itself position. It wants the newly-appointed WorldTour events themselves to be responsible for attracting the participation of at least 10 WorldTour teams, without it being compulsory.
Existing events in the UCI WorldTour calendar are mandatory for all current WorldTour teams. But as the UCI pushes for new events to be added to its top-flight calendar for 2017, some teams appear reluctant to be ‘forced’ into riding in them.
“AIGCP maintains that it is not the case that the PCC approved the principle of setting up for newly-promoted WorldTour events… nor is it the case that the PCC agreed to examine such a proposal ‘[…] at the next meeting of the PCC.'” said the AIGCP statement. “On the contrary, it was confirmed, as was approved by the Management Committee and the PCC in 2015, that newly-promoted WorldTour events bear the full responsibility for securing participation of at least 10 WorldTeams with no coercive mechanisms.”
It creates a difficult position for the UCI, with new events added to its WorldTour calendar that do not have the full complement of WorldTour teams riding in them.
The 2017 WorldTour calendar has been approved, but now the AIGCP is saying that the mandatory participation of 10 WorldTour teams in the new events changes its approval of new events joining the WorldTour.
It’s not the first time that the UCI’s proposed WorldTour reforms have hit a stumbling block. Last year, Tour de France organiser ASO said that it would withdraw all of its events from the 2017 WorldTour in protest against the reforms. However, the UCI said in June that ASO would remain on board for 2017.
Currently, for the 2016 season, there are 18 WorldTour teams. This will be reduced to 17 for 2017 and 16 for 2018 under reforms. The list of events comprising the 2017 UCI WorldTour calendar has yet to be officially published.