Riders association wants UCI to make peace with ASO

Bugno calls for an open dialogue

Following the ASO announcement that it will pull all of its races, including the Tour de France, from the WorldTour calendar, the president of the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA) Gianni Bugno has called on the UCI to open the lines of communication between it and the ASO.

The ASO has objected to the UCI's WorldTour reforms, with Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme calling the scheme a "closed system". The race has long wanted free of the governing body's rules regarding which teams can be invited, and expressed concern that three-year licences for WorldTour teams would leave little room for teams to move into the top tier or to exit it.

Prudhomme expressed the desire to reduce the size of the peloton and has threatened to hold all of the ASO races as Hors Categorie in 2017 so they could invite more wild card teams. But UCI rules specify that new HC stage races are limited to five days or fewer. Also, under UCI rules, one-day HC races are limited to no more than 200km, a distance much shorter than the ASO's Classics Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The riders and teams are caught in the middle, and the CPA disagreed with the UCI's assertion that the WorldTour reforms were adopted with the consent of all stakeholders.

"The association of the riders was in fact in favor of it but as long as all stakeholders, including the organizers, were also in favor of the new Reform," the CPA press release read. "The CPA has noticed in recent weeks that the organizers and especially the ASO, are unwilling to accept the new guidelines of the UCI which are radically different from the original project."

The CPA went on to ask the UCI to respect the history of the sport. "The association of the riders expressly asks the UCI to open the dialogue with all parties who have a sincere desire to participate constructively in the Reform of cycling, to give our sport the respect it deserves."

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