Roy calls for WorldTour clarity

Although teams have already begun their preparation, planning and training camps for the 2013 season, the final composition of the UCI WorldTour will not be announced until December 10.

Jérémy Roy’s FDJ team is among the applicants still waiting to learn of its status for next season and the Frenchman decried the situation in a blog for the L’Équipe website on Tuesday.

“We’ve reached December 5 and FDJ still doesn’t know in which division it will be next season,” Roy wrote. “It’s risible and very restrictive.”

Roy illustrated his point by describing how FDJ’s kit manufacturer is still waiting to produce the 2013 jerseys as it remains to be seen whether they will bear WorldTour or Europe Tour insignia. More pressingly, Roy highlighted how the lack of certainty regarding FDJ’s situation makes planning next year’s racing programme all but impossible. Two years ago, FDJ was denied entry to the WorldTour at a similarly late juncture.

“How can we prepare a race programme when we don’t know if we’re participating in the Tour Down Under next month? The licence commission met on November 26 and we still might have to wait until the end of the week to know who will be left in the WorldTour: Argos, Lotto, Saxo-Tinkoff or FDJ?”

Roy echoed the concerns of a number of his colleagues regarding the UCI points system, namely that “the general classification of stage races is overvalued in comparison to stage wins – something which dampens the racing – and the importance of domestiques is completely forgotten.”

The Frenchman noted that within the peloton, riders place greater store on the rankings compiled by than on the WorldTour standings, where “a leader like Thomas Voeckler doesn’t feature and only a minority of races are counted.”

Roy also called for simple measures to prevent WorldTour applicant teams from signing riders purely to take advantage of their haul of UCI points. “Points scored during a season should stay with the team and not the riders,” he wrote. “We find ourselves in a situation where a number of teams are recruiting riders ‘on points’ and forget sporting criteria.”

However, the biggest problem with the current method of assigning WorldTour places, Roy believes, is its fundamental lack of clarity. Although his FDJ squad placed 18th in the final WorldTour rankings for 2012, it lay 16th in the separate ‘sporting value’ classification, which is calculated as part of the 2013 licensing process.

“What will the criteria of the commission be?” Roy asked. “The team as a whole? The prestige of the leader? The weight of the sponsor? Ethics? I don’t know. Nobody really knows.”

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