The Vuelta a España may be introducing a radical new format in an attempt to make the race more exciting. Race director Victor Cordero has proposed a first week of "play-offs" for the race sometime in the future.
"We could have a first five or six-day phase with flat stages, mountain stages and a time trial," Cordero said at the "International Forum for the future of Cycling" in Paris on Thursday, according to the Reuters news agency. "We could have team standings to select the 16 teams to continue the race."
After eliminating the first few teams, the remaining squads would have the option of bringing in new rides for the rest of the race. "The riders taking part in the playoffs would not necessarily be the ones participating in the rest of the race," he added.
The move would be aimed at making the first week of the race more entertaining. "Usually, the first week of a Grand Tour is not very interesting," he admitted. The Spaniard further suggested that the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia could eventually also adopt the proposed format.
In any case, the use of the "play-offs" will not be implemented right away. "We have stages planned in the Netherlands in 2009 so it would not possible before 2010," Cordero said. "Moreover, we still need to discuss it further."