Hopes that Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice will not clash in future

Acquarone says added rest day opens door for Grand Tour travels

Michele Acquarone and his organisation RCS Sport announced the route of 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico in Montecatini Terme on Thursday, but he is already looking many years down the road to a time when his race will not conflict with Paris-Nice.

Pointing down the list of names on the 2013 edition's general classification, Acquarone noted that Vincenzo Nibali - Giro d'Italia champion - Tour de France winner Chris Froome, and Vuelta a España victor Chris Horner were all in the race this year, and the sport needs big stars in the races in order for them to grow, to attract more fans and more sponsorship. But this can only happen if races do not conflict.

"I hope [they will be separated]," Acquarone told Cyclingnews. "It's about the stars, you have some in Tirreno, you have some in Paris-Nice, it's not logical. I want France to enjoy their race with the best riders in Paris-Nice, and then at Tirreno. I think it's logical."

He indicated that the UCI has long-term plans to correct the calendar so that the WorldTour races will no longer overlap, but that the changes will take place over the next six years.

"They are working on 2020 now, starting to change in 2015 what is easy to change, and [continue] until 2020 with new rules," Acquarone said.

"I feel we are going the right direction. [The race organisers] are all together and we share the same strategy. No fighting - that's the way to work. We have the same interests. It's better for teams, riders, organisers, sponsors, broadcasters and press.

Another positive change for Acquarone was the "unexpected" decision by the Professional Cycling Council to add a rest day to the 2014 Giro d'Italia to buffer the riders from the first three stages in Ireland and the long transfer to Italy.

"It was unexpected, really unexpected. They understood what the teams were asking for. We were ready with our program - three days in Ireland, three hours back to Italy, 11:30pm everybody goes to sleep, and the next day they start again in Italy. We checked with the doctors and they said it was no problem for the riders, physically, but the teams said they prefer to do it in a different way. The UCI and PCC said yes.

"[The UCI] created a precedent, and I think it's good because they listened. I don't think it should be an exception, it can become a rule.

"If the Grand Tours want to start from somewhere else, we have a chance to do it.

"You can bring cycling to where the people ask for cycling. We didn't go to Ireland because we decided we want to go to Ireland, we went there because the Irish said we want to have a Grand Tour in Ireland - we have a lot of fans and young riders, we want to create it. Why not, it's a great opportunity for everyone. The NBA is coming to Europe for a game, a regular season game. It's very important for them, it's not just a show. I want to do the same for cycling, it's quite easy.

"My feeling is little by little, everyone is getting on the same road. Even ASO, and other race organisers. We are very close, we share our strategy. It's a good moment for cycling."

Acquarone declined to weigh in on the UCI presidential election, saying only "I spoke with both of them. They know what cycling needs. If we talk about Pat McQuaid, he knows the mistakes he made and what he can do better for cycling. If we talk about Brian Cookson, he knows what he has to change. For sure both of them have to change. It's just political. I want to work with them to create a real, global, clean cycling."

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