The proposed reforms to the men’s calendar and teams’ structure will begin to be phased in next season with the full changes due to come into effect at the start of the 2020 season. Following discussions with teams and organisers earlier this month, the UCI confirmed details of their changes, which will include a Classics Series and sees team sizes increase.
Next season will see the first tentative changes with the UCI WorldTour ranking set to disappear after 10 seasons. While that goes, the World Ranking will remain as the UCI aims to give a better overview of performances across all levels of cycling. The Continental rankings will also continue in their current format.
One of the major changes due for the 2020 season will be the introduction of the UCI Classics Series, which was announced at the World Championships in Innsbruck at the end of September. The Classics Series will sit inside the current WorldTour calendar, which will continue to be made up of 38 races across 185 days of racing. The final number is yet to be confirmed but the series will consist of ‘around 20’ one-day races, including the five monuments.
WorldTour races will be given three-year licences and will be required to help contribute to the development of cycling. This could entail supporting a programme set up by a national federation, or organising races for other categories, such as women’s, u23 or junior races.
Below the WorldTour races, the current format of HC races will disappear and a new ProSeries will take its place. The ProSeries will include races from the HC category and those classified as 2.1 and 1.1. According to the press release on the UCI’s website, the ProSeries races “will adhere to a demanding list of specifications”. Meanwhile, the Continental Circuits of Europe, America, Africa and Oceania will remain as they are.
Music to riders' ears will be that team sizes are set to go back up for 2020. The minimum number of riders per WorldTour team will increase from 23 to 27 with the maximum set at 30. Meanwhile, ProTeams will have a minimum of 20 and maximum of 30 and Continental will be 10 and 16.
The UCI reconfirmed that the WorldTour line-up will consist of 18 teams, scrapping the previous plans to reduce to 15. They will be awarded three-year licences and, like organisers, will be required to contribute to the development of cycling.
In accordance with current UCI regulations, all 18 WorldTour teams must take part in Grand Tours. A total of 22 teams are expected to take part but the UCI have made some changes to how ProTeams (Pro Continental teams) will earn a place at the three-week races. The top two ProTeams, according to the final rankings from the previous season, must be invited. Teams are allowed to decline these invitations, which will then be redistributed to a team of the organiser’s choosing. A further two wildcard spots are available for the race organiser to hand out. Teams will comprise eight riders.
For the Classics series, anywhere between 21 and 25 teams can take part. The 18 WorldTour teams are required to take part or be invited – depending on the race as teams are not obligated to race a number of the newer WorldTour events. For those races where WorldTour teams are not obligated to take part, a minimum participation number will be set. For the remaining spots, the top three ProTeams must be invited and up to four wildcards can be handed out, though organisers are not obligated to do so.
As with current regulations, teams will be made up of seven riders. The rules are the same for other one-day races.
For other stage races within the WorldTour, the WorldTour team participation regulations remain the same. The top two ProTeams must be invited while as many as five wildcards can be handed out to ProTeams, though this is not an obligation. Between 20 and 25 teams of seven riders can take part.