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WorldTour to experiment with six-rider teams
The UCI announced today that it has withdrawn the Tour of Hangzhou from the WorldTour calendar and moved the Tour of Beijing up a week. The Beijing race will now take place on October 11-15, 2013.
The decision was made at the meeting of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) in Geneva.
Global Cycling Promotion (GCP) added Tour of Hangzhou to the WorldTour calendar in 2012, but the race was "postponed" just two months before it was set to take place. It has now decided to remove the second Chinese WorldTour race from the calendar “after realising that the basic conditions for organising a race at UCI WorldTour level would not be met in the short term".
The PCC approved a project to test using six-rider teams and a new system of bonus points based on intermediate sprints in collaboration with two WorldTour event organisers in 2013, but the UCI did not specify which races will take part in the experiment.
The WorldTour concept originally met with strong resistance from race organisers, especially the promoters of the Grand Tours, who objected to being required to fill 18 spots with a set contingent of teams, limiting their wildcards choices to only four teams.
The spat came to a head in 2006 and 2007 when the UCI approved 20 teams for the then-ProTour.
Choosing more teams with fewer starters has been discussed as a way to give more squads exposure at the major races.
In other PCC news, the council ratified its new president, Joop Atsma. It is also reviewing two studies – one by Ernst & Young on the economics of pro teams, and a second from the Lausanne University Institute of Sport Science which calculates a risk of doping within teams based upon their structure.