The UCI today announced that its Management Committee has agreed to the establishment of an international Anti-doping Tribunal which will replace the national cycling federation's adjudication of doping cases.
The tribunal will handle all of the disciplinary proceedings for anti-doping offenses and "would be made up of judges specialised in anti-doping, fully independent of the UCI, with the aim to provide all top level athletes with the same consistent process and a clear, short timetable," the UCI announcement stated.
"This should ensure consistency and uniform quality in the decisions, significantly reduce the number of cases that go to CAS on appeal and lift the operational burden from the National Federations."
The UCI will consult with the national federations, but plans to start operating the independent tribunal in 2015.
CIRC report due early 2015
In other UCI doping news, the Cycling Independent Reform Commission is due to deliver its report in early 2015.
Strade Bianche, Giro dell'Emilia add women's races
The UCI published its 2015 road calendars today, and the women will see significant improvements in their high-level racing opportunities.
La Course by le Tour de France confirmed today via Twitter that they intend to duplicate the race, won by Marianne Vos on the Champs Elysees, but gave no further details of the format. The full Tour de France route will be unveiled on October 22.
The 2015 season kicks off with the Tour Femenino de San Luis in January, then heads to the Ladies Tour of Qatar in February. The Women's Tour of New Zealand makes a comeback to the UCI calendar at the end of February.
An additional women's races will be held in conjunction with the men's spring classics: the Strade Bianche will hold a women's 1.1-ranked race on March 7.
Other new UCI-ranked events include the Joe Martin Stage Race, listed as a UCI 2.2 event for women this year, as is the Tour of the Gila.
On May 9, 2015, there will be a 1.2-ranked Rabobank Marianne Vos classic.
China gets a new race which follows the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup. The 2.2-ranked Tour of Zhoushan Island gives riders an additional reason to travel to Asia in May.
The Winston-Salem Classic in North Carolina is set to be a women's 1.2-ranked event, as is the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic and White Spot/Delta Road Race in Canada.
In June, The Friends Life Women's Tour in Great Britain will return before the Giro Donne in July. La Course by Tour de France will be preceded by a new 2.2-ranked race, Les 4 jours féminins.
The Giro dell'Emilia has added a women's event on October 10.
Tour of Utah steps up to hors categorie
The Tour of Utah will upgrade its UCI ranking for the 11th edition of the race in 2015. The race joins the Tour of California and Colorado's USA Pro Challenge in the highest ranking for stage races short of the WorldTour.
The seven-stage race will take place on August 3 - August 9, 2015.
“This upgraded designation by the international governing body of cycling is further evidence of the Tour of Utah’s growing stature,” said Steve Miller, president of Miller Sports Properties, which organizes the Tour of Utah. “We aspire to continue to organize a world-class race that showcases our state and the sport.”