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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

UCI, SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES

According to cicloweb.it (http://goo.gl/dWE1Dx), the UCI has finally been at work to change the formats of rankings and various levels of professional cycling. The changes will be discussed next January 2014 so the new format should be in place for 2015 to 2020.

First division: 16 teams (120 days of racing).
Second division: 8 teams (50 days of racing). These teams will be able to be invited to participate in division 1 races, however only the results from the 50 days of 2nd division racing will be taken in consideration for promotion/relegation.
Third division: will comprise of and Pro Continental and Continental teams. Pro Conti teams could access to HC or 1.1 and 2.1 races, while Conti teams will only be able to race 1.2 and 2.2 races. All third division points will be taken from races in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania Tours.

All the three divisions will have relegations and promotions (no number of teams given as yet).

The interesting change comes from the individual rankings: all riders from all divisions will be in the same classification, thus giving some riders from lower divisions the chance to make themselves stand out.

The number of racing days could be restricted to 250, from February to October, so the Tour Down Under will have to either move or disappear, for instance.

Also no overlapping of top races (i.e. no Tirreno-Adriatico starting mid Paris-Nice), including between First and Second division races.

Most important change is for the short stage races which will not be allowed more than 5 or 6 days, i.e. a Classic on the Sunday, stage race from Monday, one-day race on following Saturday. That is to accommodate the changes in non-overlap. This has huge implications for all main events like Romandy, Suisse, Britain and so on.

There will be a race ranking to establish financial rewards to organisers based on 7 elements:
1. logistics efficiency;
2. quality of hospitality;
3. standard of the race (its importance, basically);
4. safety and security;
5. quality of production, coverage;
6. global access to the coverage;
7. amount of audience on the roads (which puts Beijing, Qatar and Oman in danger straight away).

The relegation/promotion issue would add an extra element of drama but it would also put extra pressure on teams as the sponsors would be more likely to leave if the team has been relegated. However that's probably balanced by the added interest a promoted team would attract. Basically it is an unknown but it's good to see changes are (possibly) on their way. Cycling needs to reinvent itself in order to survive these years of financial starvation, internal strife and scandals.

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