UCI announces world's team numbers

The UCI has announced the number of riders per country that will be eligible to take part in the men's road race at this year's world championships, Spain, September 21-25.

Under new rules brought in as part of the UCI's restructuring of the sport into the ProTour and Continental tours, several emerging cycling nations will find themselves able to field considerably larger teams at this year's world's than last year in Verona, while the traditionally huge contingents from cycling's national superpowers are somewhat diminished.

The biggest beneficiaries of the new rules are South Africa and Iran which had no riders at all in the men's road race last year. Their position as top nation in the UCI Africa Tour and UCI Asia Tour respectively means they are now entitled to enrol nine, of whom six will actually race. Similarly, Argentina (UCI America Tour leader) and Brazil are entitled to field six riders, up from one and two starters in 2004.

The biggest loser appears to be Russia, which had a 12-man team in the 2004 world's and this year will be able to start just six from a nine-rider roster. Traditional cycling countries such as France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands all qualified this year for the maximum 9 riders (of 14 enrolled) and though that has been reduced from 12 in 2004, the field among the top players still appears to be level.

World championship team sizes by country

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