Mauro Vegni, the head of cycling at RCS Sport and the director of the Giro d’Italia, has called on ASO and the UCI to put aside their differences concerning the 2017 WorldTour reforms and return to the negotiating table to find a solution for the good of the sport.
Vegni has often played a vital diplomatic role during the negotiations concerning the planned reforms of professional cycling, while balancing the interests of RCS Sport as a major race organiser.
“I hope that something happens so we can create some unity and not further divergence,” Vegni told Cyclingnews after proudly presenting the route of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico, which Vegni has developed and grown in recent years after starting his career as a race organiser with the weeklong stage race when it was owned by Franco Mealli.
“RCS Sport has always tried to play its part in negotiations. If there are problems, we’ve tried to identify them and then work together to find the right solution. That’s the way I’ve always worked in the different meeting and different commissions. It’s about finding solutions, not creating problems. That’s the kind of answer we have to come up with for everyone’s benefit.”
The relationship between ASO and the UCI has become tense but Vegni has identified some areas where negotiations are possible.
“I think there are some technical aspects that need to be reconsidered. I think we can look at quite a few aspects and find better solutions. For example rider safety has become more important than ever, for everyone concerned,” Vegni explained.
“We’ve recently created a special commission regarding the weather and now we’ve got an extreme weather protocol. That’s not because we want to be meteorologists but because we’ve got to consider the weather and think of rider safety. Perhaps reducing the number of the riders in races could also be a way of improving safety. We should discuss this together and other aspects. And we should discuss them all together, sat around a table. Nobody should close the door on anyone, we need to work together.”
Despite the threats by ASO not to register the Tour de France and its other races on the 2017 WorldTour calendar and instead register them as Hors Categorie races in the lower Europe Tour, giving them greater freedom to choose which teams to invite, Vegni remains hopeful that an all-out power struggle can be avoided.
“Nobody has slammed the door for now. I think there’s a chance of getting everyone back around the table,” Vegni said.
“I think we can get back together. People have highlighted the problems and so now we’ve got to talk about them. I hope we can all come together in the New Year and talk about our problems and find solutions together.”