Race organisers reject UCI WorldTour reforms

The International Association of Cycling Race Organizers (AIOCC) has voted to reject the proposed WorldTour reforms by an overwhelming majority. In its general meeting in Hamburg, Germany on Friday, the group of race promoters voted 77 to 6 to reject the changes to the WorldTour, that are due to be adopted for the 2017 season.

The organisers plan to form working groups to draw up proposed "corrective measures" for the reforms, according to L'Equipe.

The AIOCC members also voted unanimously to limit the number of riders per team in Grand Tours to eight, and seven for other major stage races. The reduction in peloton size is desired to help reduce the number of crashes.

Some teams are in favour of reducing the size of the peloton and their wage bill, with BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz often outspoken on the subject. However the CPA international rider association is against cuts that would reduce the number of riders in the peloton.

AIOCC’s rejection of the reforms could leave the sport in limbo, with the powerful race organisers on one side and the UCI, teams, and riders and the other. The reforms are due to come into force in 2017 but the uncertainty will worry sponsors and teams about the future of professional cycling.

AIOCC is headed by Christian Prudhomme – the director of the Tour de France. Most other race organisers are also part of the organisation, which looks to protect the interest of race organisers.

Under AIOCC rules, each race has a single vote and so thanks to its many races on the international calendar, ASO has an almost majority position which allows it to dominate the strategy and position of the AIOCC.

During the summer ASO threatened to remove its races from the 2016 WorldTour if the reforms were passed. The UCI Management Committee, which oversees how the sport is governed, was forced to delay a vote of approval, while a deal was struck to appease ASO.

A summer of intense diplomacy followed and an agreement was eventually passed, with the reforms announced at the world championships in Richmond after a unanimous vote at the Management Committee. The vote had previously been approved by the Professional Cycling Council, that includes Prudhomme as a representitive of AIOCC.

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