As details emerged on Monday regarding the World Series Cycling (WSC) project and its reforms to the current road racing calendar, the UCI re-iterated today that it has been in talks with the principals involved, but that nothing concrete has yet been decided upon. However, the UCI confirmed that it would retain "full control over the calendar, including sporting and technical elements".
On Monday, Jonathan Price of the Gifted Group and business partner Thomas Kurth unveiled their WSC calendar, featuring 10 new four-day stage races to take place worldwide alongside all three Grand Tours plus six major one-day Classics. The Gifted Group has also partnered with Czech billionaire and Omega Pharma-QuickStep team owner Zdenek Bakala at the end of 2011 with the Czech acting as an intermediary between the WSC and cycling's governing body, the UCI.
"The International Cycling Union (UCI) confirms that it has been in discussions with Omega Pharma-QuickStep owner Zdenek Bakala and his business partner Bessel Kok since late 2011 about the possible development of the professional road cycling calendar," said the UCI in a press release on Tuesday. "These discussions have included their potential financial investment in a new joint venture company with the UCI and other cycling stakeholders that would promote and organise elements of this new calendar. The UCI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them as the initial investors in the joint venture and will now enter into extensive dialogue with the teams and race organisers before any final agreement is concluded."
The UCI outlined the next steps in the process regarding any reform to the professional road racing calendar.
"The possible development of the professional road cycling calendar will be subject to comments from the wide-ranging consultation “A bright future for cycling” that will involve all the stakeholders in the sport and which will take place in the first quarter of 2013," said the UCI. "This consultation will have a considerable bearing on this proposed joint venture and the future road cycling calendar.
"No agreement has been reached on the reforms that will take place to the calendar and as such any media reports about the future of the calendar are pure speculation at this stage. The UCI and the investors are also committed to ensuring that the final structure of the joint venture will avoid conflicts of interest."