TDF could withdraw from UCI calendar

Thumbnail

A source close to the UCI management committee told Reuters that ASO sent a letter to the UCI saying they would withdraw from the 2016 calendar if the reform does not go forward, with their main concern centred on ensuring major race dates do not clash.

There is no immediate risk of the Tour and ASO's other major races not taking place but they could do so outside the umbrella of cycling's governing body, leading to a potentially damaging split.

ASO own the Tour de France but also the top tier classics Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege as well as the one-week Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine.

ASO were not immediately available for comment.

There is no immediate risk of the Tour and ASO's other major races not taking place but they could do so outside the umbrella of cycling's governing body, leading to a potentially damaging split.

A split would mean that ASO would be free to make their own team selection for their races. This year, teams from the UCI World Tour get automatic spots for the Tour and other prestigious races.

ASO and the UCI had been at odds from 2005-2008 when the Tour de France organisers refused, with their counterparts at the Tour of Spain and Giro d'Italia, to be part of the UCI Pro-Tour - which later became the World Tour.

In 2008, ASO did not invite ProTour team Astana on the Tour because of their past doping record, meaning that Spain's Alberto Contador who just joined the outfit could not defend his 2007 title.

The calendar reform was first voted this week by the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) but it did not get the UCI's management committee's validation.

The management committee has also been pushing for UCI president Brian Cookson to get rid of director general Martin Gibbs, who has been heavily criticised within the organisation, sources told Reuters.

More than 30 UCI collaborators have been sacked or have left since Cookson took over from Pat McQuaid in 2013.

The UCI said it was confident the reform would succeed.

“We are hopeful to finalise soon our discussions with all stakeholders whether races organisers, teams, riders, around a project that will restore the credibility in our sport, promote the sport in both existing and new markets, make the cycling season understood and attractive to fans and recognise the UCI WorldTour as part of a larger and interdependent system,” the governing body said in a statement to Reuters.

Reuters

Original source: TDF could withdraw from UCI calendar

by