ASO, RCS Sport, Flanders Classics reduce team sizes for 2017 races

Grand Tour teams will field eight riders rather than nine, other races will feature seven-rider teams

Three of cycling’s most prominent race organisers have decided to reduce the number of riders per team at the start of their races.

Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), who own the Tour de France and co-run the Vuelta a España, came together with Giro d’Italia owners RCS Sport and Belgian one-day organisers Flanders Classics to agree to limit the number of riders teams can field in races.

During the General Assembly of the International Association of Cycling Race Organizers (AIOCC), the three groups decided to decrease team rosters from nine to eight in the Grand Tours and from eight to seven in their other events. This new policy will go into effect for the 2017 season.

"This decision responds to two-pronged objective: The first being to improve the safety conditions for the riders with a smaller peloton on roads equipped with more and more street furniture," read a statement released Friday by the ASO.

"The second, which is a fortunate consequence of the first, is to make it more difficult to dominate a race as well as enhance conditions for events to offer better racing for cycling fans." 

The news did not sit entirely well with some of those affected. Cannondale-Drapac general manager Jonathan Vaughters took exception to what he described as the unilateral nature of the decision and the lack of notice about the change.

ASO Races:
Tour de France
Vuelta a Espana
Tour of Qatar
Tour of Oman
World Ports Classics
Tour de Yorkshire
Criterium du Dauphine
Arctic Tour of Norway
Tour de l’Avenir
Paris Tours

RCS Sport Races:
Giro d’Italia
Dubai Tour
Abu Dhabi Tour
Strade Bianche
Tirreno Adriatico
Milan-San Remo
Il Lombardia

Flanders Classics Races:
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Dwars Door Vlaanderen
Tour of Flanders
De Brabantse Pijl

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