Teams at the upcoming Tour of Poland will consist of seven rather than eight riders, as race organisers looked to reduce the size of the peloton due to safety concerns and to liven up the racing, a move that could be copied by other WorldTour races.
The race, which starts on July 29, will now been contested by 154 riders rather than the 177 as has been the case in previous years.
“We believe that this choice, which was approved by the UCI, can contribute to guaranteeing better safety in the race, a very important aspect that is always in the news headlines,” said general director Czeslaw Lang.
“It also plays a significant role in making the race even more exciting, especially in certain phases. For example, with one man less on every team, it could become more complicated for the group to control the race and catch the breakaway.”
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A proposal to reduce the number of riders in all top-level races was put forward by the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC) in November. This was struck down by the UCI which pointed out that any such move would have to be approved by the Professional Cycling Council.
However Lang said that a number of organisers of other WorldTour events were also considering similar plans to reduce the size of the field in their races.
“Besides us, the organisers of other World Tour races are moving in this direction,” Lang continued. “I have always said that it is essential to evaluate everything and try anything that can contribute to the safety of the riders and that will make our sport more spectacular.”