The International Cycling Union (UCI) is attempting to adopt a tougher stance against the major Grand Tour organisers, declaring that it will force the three-week events to be shortened if that is what's recommended by a recently commissioned report into cycling.
Cycling's world governing body announced the year-long review, which will be carried out by a panel of independent academics, at the UCI World Road Championships in Austria last weekend. The races which will come under scrutiny in the study are the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España.
"If they come to us and say that we need to make changes in the three tours, or in any other tours, than those changes will be discussed," UCI President Pat McQuaid told Associated Press. "If changes have to be made, they will be made."
There is some belief in the sport that the length of the three week races has increased doping in cycling, due to the demands placed on the human body. However, doping has also had an impact in power events, such as sprinting and track racing.
The report into cycling comes as the UCI struggles in the sport's constant fight against doping. A recent assessment of the 2005/2006 seasons released by the UCI reports the increased structure, stability and globalization the governing body has brought to the sport but neglects to mention any progress in anti-doping - a promotional problem that has plagued the sport's history.
Meanwhile, McQuaid stepped up his attack on Dick Pound, questioning the World Anti-Doping Agency Chief's credibility while accusing him of slandering cycling. "The sooner he is out of that job the better," he told AP. "As far as we are concerned, he lacks complete credibility. He has his knife in the sport of cycling."