White in favour of proposed UCI reforms

Orica-GreenEdge sports director suggests shortening Giro and Vuelta

The UCI's proposed changes and restructure of professional cycling is something that the sport needs according to Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White. From 2017, the governing body aims to implement proposals to improve the credibility and profitability within men's professional road cycling.

"Road cycling has a wonderful, rich and long heritage, and it is important not to lose sight of that as we embrace the future. I'm very pleased with the level of co-operation now happening across the sport, which promises well for the 2015 season and beyond," UCI president Brian Cookson said after meeting with various stakeholders including teams and race organisers this week.

Having trialled the use of on board cameras this year, the UCI has pinpointed the technology as a method of growing the sport which is a move that While supports.

"It excites me as a fan of cycling but think it's more exciting for the people at home," White told Cyclingnews about his thoughts on the technology. "They can see things they have never seen before and even with the little snippets of Michael Albasini's camera footage of his big crash or John Degenkolb at the Tour de Suisse. People at home go 'ooooh' they get a different perspective of what the guys are seeing on the bike.

"The technology exists and we can do some pretty incredible things with on-board cameras these days. I think it's going to go in the right direction and I think people are willing to pay a little extra to have on board cameras for the best guys in the world."

While initiates such as on board cameras can create better television, White believes that far bigger changes need to be made for the sport to survive, and thrive. Even if that means trimming the length of two of the grand tours.

"I think the sport does need a radical change to the calendar, and key to that change is to shorten the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España," White said. "I don't think they need to be moved but they need to be shortened. There is no need for a three week Giro or a three week Vuelta. I think you can make exciting racing between 10 days and two weeks."

White's rationale for less 'grand' grand tours is to allow a restructure of the calendar, which in theory, would see a stronger 'narrative' emerge with the sport's top riders competing against each more often.

Orica-GreenEdge are one of the 11 teams behind the Velon business group, a joint-venture company that aims "to drive a financial model that, in line with other international sports, ensures a sustainable future for the teams" and talks of creating a "season long story'. White admits that the changes proposed by Velon and the UCI won't happen seamlessly but the sport will ultimately be better off in the long-term.

"With the shortening of those two events especially, then we can move the calendar around a little bit," White explained. "I think it will hurt in the short-term, but cycling needs a change. Some of the ideas I've seen with the calendar changes and the restructuring of the sport and the certain ways it's going to add to the professionalism of the sport and sell that package of a similar narrative [throughout the year]."

"People at home want to see the best sprinters in the world racing each other week-in-week-out," he added. "They want to see Froome, Nibali, Contador and Rodriguez going head-to-head on climbs week in week out, but until we change the calendar, it's just not physical possible at the moment." 

Related Articles

Back to top