UCI presses ahead with new ‘Classics Series’ – but teams want no part in it

The governing body plans to introduce a general classification for one-day races

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UCI has decided to press ahead with a new “Classics Series,” despite the objection from teams.

Cycling’s international governing body plans to introduce a general classification for one-day races, as part of the UCI’s drive to improve the popularity of cycling.

But the Classics Series has already hit a speed bump as the Association of Men’s Professional Road Cycling Teams (AIGCP), the body which represents men's teams, has opposed the innovation, saying that riders will not take part.

Riders will still race in the WorldTour one-day races, but teams are shunning their involvement in the classification.

The AIGCP says that while the reforms are designed to fix the “broken economic model” in cycling, the Classics Series does not do anything for that aim.

A statement from the association said: “The AIGCP (the association of men’s professional road cycling teams) hereby confirms that it has informed the UCI that it rejects the current approach and proposed regulatory framework for setting up the anticipated UCI Classics Series as part of the 2020 Reform.

“Such Classics Series was meant to be a stepping stone towards the true reform that men’s professional road cycling needs: to change the current broken economic model which over the years has done much harm to the sport, not only the teams and their riders, but also to many race organisers.

“However, the teams lament that no substantial progress has been made in this regard.”

The organisation added that “no team or contracted rider may be associated with any such Classics Series without the express consent of that team,” arguing that the rights or riders and teams are not being respected.

Last September, the UCI announced a major reorganisation of men’s professional cycling, starting in 2019, which would include changing the structure of the three divisions, reform of the criteria for WorldTour teams and the introduction of new league tables.

The reforms were designed to “strengthen the position of cycling among the world’s biggest professional sports” and “improve the narrative of the season and the stability of the system,” with the AIGCP supporting the announcement.

However, the UCI announced during the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships that the Classics Series would go ahead, with the AIGCP then voicing its opposition.

The UCI announcement in Yorkshire also included confirmation of controversial changes to the track cycling calendar, and plans to promote women’s cycling with the aim of improving gender equality in the sport.

According to the UCI, from 2020 all of the UCI WorldTour one-day races will be grouped together into the UCI Classics Series, with its own classification and common branding.

UCI president David Lappartient said: “The reform of track cycling and the new organisation of professional road cycling are, along with the development of women’s cycling and cycling for all, the central elements in the process of conquering new audiences and new participants for our sport.

“I am delighted that these projects are progressing quickly.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.