Team sizes should be reduced to just six riders, says new UCI president

David Lappartient wants to continue reduction of team sizes

Team Sky on the front of the peloton at the Tour de France
(Image credit: ASO/Alex Broadway)

Teams sizes should be limited to just six riders per race, according to new UCI president David Lappartient as he seeks to continue to reduce the size of the professional peloton.

From next season teams will be limited to eight riders in Grand Tours and seven riders in all other races - a reduction of one rider compared to current regulations - but Lappartient says he wants to continue that trend towards smaller teams.

"At one time there were 10 riders in the teams, and we managed to go down to nine," Lappartient told French radio station RMC Sport (opens in new tab). "But I'm in favour of going further. Six riders per team would be better."

The most recent move to limit team sizes, agreed at a meeting of the UCI Management Committee at the World Championships in Bergen in September, were intended to "improve the safety of the riders, spectators and the race convoy" following a number of serious collisions involving riders and race vehicles.

Watch: Tour de France 2018 route guide

However this reduction, and any further reduction pursued by Lappartient, could also see a number of riders put out of work or forced to drop down to lower-level squads, as teams reduce in size. BMC Racing and Team Sunweb have already confirmed that they will be reducing in size from their current 29 and 27 rider squads, to teams of just 24 riders, and Quick-Step Floors are reported to be following suit.

In the interview with RMC Sport, Lappartient also reinforced his wish to limit the use of race radios, which he said could be used by gamblers to talk to riders and fix races.

The Frenchman says that he will ban race radios for the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck, and will try to extend the ban to other UCI races in the future.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.