The UCI has acknowledged the intention of Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) to register its WorldTour races on the 2017 Hors Category calendar but has reiterated it plans to continue reforming men’s professional cycling, saying it “remains committed to implementing the reforms which were agreed as part of this extensive consultation process and which the UCI believes properly balances the interests of all those involved in professional cycling.”
Earlier on Friday ASO came out against the reforms by saying the UCI has adopted a reform of the World Tour calendar characterized by a closed sport system. ASO claimed “remains committed to the European model and cannot compromise the values it represents: an open system giving first priority to the sporting criterion. It is therefore in this new context and within its historical events that A.S.O will continue to keep these values alive.”
Registering its races Hors Category on the lower level European calendar would blow a hole in the WorldTour and the planned reforms that should kick-in during 2017. ASO organises the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and the Vuelta a Espana. Its races represent 61 days of 148 days on the World Tour calendar or 42% of the total calendar.
The dispute between the UCI and ASO highlights the deep rooted power struggle that has always existed between the sports recognised governing body and the sport’s biggest race organisers. UCI President Brian Cookson has tried to use diplomacy as he pushed through the latest reform proposals. Many other race organisers, teams and national Federations are on his side but he has failed to reach an agreement that satisfies ASO.
The full statement reads:
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) takes note of the intention of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) to register its currently registered UCI WorldTour events as Hors Classe on the UCI calendar for 2017.
The reform of men’s professional road cycling, which will enable sensible and gradual evolution of this important part of our sport, was approved by the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) in June and ratified by the UCI Management Committee in September.
It has been developed over two years of very detailed and open dialogue and consultation amongst a diverse group of stakeholders, including race organisers, teams and riders. The reform will offer stability for all, and will allow our sport to grow sustainably while
protecting the interests of existing stakeholders.
The UCI remains committed to implementing the reforms which were agreed as part of this extensive consultation process and which the UCI believes properly balances the interests of all those involved in professional cycling.