The Velon teams met on Friday in London. There, they would have approved the blueprint for the new 2.HC stage race.
The route should be presented in January and should include a sprinters’ stage, a climbers’ stage over the Cauberg used in the Amstel Gold Race and a team pursuit final stage.
“These are exciting times for cycling and this competition gives all teams – not only the members of Velon – the chance to show their talents,” read a press release that Belgium’s Sporza reported.
Race coverage should include live data and onboard video cameras, which Velon has been pushing in other races like the Tour de France. The article reports that fans will have opportunities to interact with the cyclists behind the scenes.
It is to the teams’ advantage since they will profit directly from the race. The teams association, the AIGCP, arguing that their cyclists are the main actors, has been pushing for a piece of the television rights pie for years from the big organises, specifically ASO.
The teams now have their own way of generating income instead of relying on ASO, RCS Sport or Flanders Classics.
Velon began two years ago “to create a new economic future for the sport and bring fans closer to the riders, races and teams – by working together and in partnership with others.”
This year, it counts 12 of the 18 WorldTour teams with Team Sky. New WorldTour teams Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain-Merida should be included on the 2017 list.
Chris Froome said at the time, “With the development of Velon, it will allow the teams to work together and help find new innovations to grow the sport, keep fans excited and attract new followers.”
Since it is their race, however, they will find time and could send top stars like Froome to make it a success and to generate money.
A look ahead to next year’s Tour de France
Infront Sports & Media will be organising the new race since this February it agreed to a 10-year deal with Velon.
The name should sound familiar, they are running the new end-of-season WorldTour event in China, the Tour of Guangxi that was announced last week.
Infront is owned by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin and his Wanda Sports subsidiary. The Tour de Suisse and Hamburg Cyclassics fall under the Infront umbrella, as well.
The racing will not stop in Limburg, other stage races are planned in Switzerland in August and South Africa in October.
It should create needed money for the teams, but put them in direct conflict with the big three race organisers and the UCI’s WorldTour series.