Posted by Editor on 12/18/15
Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organizers of the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Vuelta Espana and other major races, sent a statement out today, announcing that they would not be registering their events as part of the WorldTour in 2017.
The statement reads:
Amaury Sport Organisation has informed this day Union Cycliste Internationale it has opted for the registration of its events on the Hors Classe calendar for season 2017.
UCI has actually recently adopted, from season 2017, a Reform of the World Tour calendar characterized by a closed sport system.
More than ever, A.S.O. remains committed to the European model and cannot compromise the values it represents: an open system giving first priority to the sporting criterion.
It is therefore in this new context and within its historical events that A.S.O. will continue to keep these values alive.
The decision is a challenge thrown down to the planned reforms by the UCI for the highest level of the sport - the WorldTour calendar and Division 1 teams. The UCI, in conjunction with the top teams and sponsors, have reached an agreement that will extend the length of team licences to three years. Also, Division one teams have guaranteed entry to WorldTour events.
In addition, many of the biggest teams have formed an organization called VELON, which wants to receive a portion of revenues from events for the teams and riders; similar to what happens in the National Hockey League.
ASO, as the owner of some of the biggest and most lucrative properties in cycling has been fighting these sort of demands for many years. They also want to be able to determine which teams are allowed to enter their races, rather then being required to accept all Division 1 teams.
By registering for the HC category, ASO will not be required to enter all Division 1 teams, and can accept other squads - such as lower division French teams that are of increased interest for French broadcasters, or teams that are potentially sponsored by event sponsors.
The UCI has subsequently issued a statement, which reads:
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) takes note of the intention of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) to register its currently registered UCI WorldTour events as Hors Classe on the UCI calendar for 2017.
The reform of men's professional road cycling, which will enable sensible and gradual evolution of this important part of our sport, was approved by the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) in June and ratified by the UCI Management Committee in September. It has been developed over two years of very detailed and open dialogue and consultation amongst a diverse group of stakeholders, including race organisers, teams and riders. The reform will offer stability for all, and will allow our sport to grow sustainably while protecting the interests of existing stakeholders.
The UCI remains committed to implementing the reforms which were agreed as part of this extensive consultation process and which the UCI believes properly balances the interests of all those involved in professional cycling.
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