In a newsletter sent to national federations last week, the Union Cycliste Internationale has revealed the Professional Cycling Council is considering the addition of up to roughly 25 competition days to the 2017 WorldTour calendar as part of the UCI s pro cycling reforms.
Though still lacking context due to the ongoing uncertainty about ASO events, this latest figure from the UCI is slightly higher than the up to 20 new days of competition mooted in an earlier NCF communication last November.
According to this month s newsletter, a decision on which events will be added to the 2017 WorldTour calendar is expected to be made at the second annual PCC meeting scheduled to be held in late June.
For anyone who hasn t been following the reforms process, here s a brief backgrounder. Earlier this month, the UCI announced that over 20* candidates had applied for three-year WorldTour event licences beginning in 2017:
Following the first meeting of 2016 of the Professional Cycling Council, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is pleased to announce that over 20 candidates from four continents have applied to reach the UCI WorldTour level in 2017 and for the two subsequent seasons.
As part of the reform of men s professional road cycling, events were offered the opportunity to apply for a UCI WorldTour three-year licence as of 2017.
At the same time, the UCI confirmed that 20 existing WorldTour events (not including ASO s) would also have their licences renewed^ until 2019 [CiQ emphasis in bold]:
Expansion of the UCI WorldTour will help fans interest across the world and throughout the year, and bring more attention not only to events joining but just as importantly to existing UCI WorldTour events, which will also be given a three-year licence from 2017.
[*confirmed as 21 candidates in the latest newsletter. ^also confirmed in the same newsletter]
THE WORLDTOUR NOW
The 2016 WorldTour calendar comprises 27 events and 150 race days (excluding rest days in the three Grand Tours) across ten countries.
ASO s seven events (chronologically, Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, La Fl che Wallonne, Li ge-Bastogne-Li ge, Crit rium du Dauphin , Le Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espa a) account for exactly 40%, or 60, of those days.
(The INRNG published a 2016 calendar analysis last year which readers may find interesting)
HOW WILL THE WORLDTOUR LOOK NEXT YEAR?
Nobody really knows, but there are some rules about how big it can be. Current UCI regulations (article 2.14.142) permit a maximum of 30 UCI WorldTour event licences to be issued with a maximum of five licences per country.
If we re to believe that ASO s posturing does materialise into all seven of its events being registered on the European Continental calendar, then a maximum of ten new WorldTour events could potentially be added to the calendar next year.
Conversely, should the UCI and ASO reach an accord which sees the latter s events back in the WorldTour, then this only leaves room for a maximum three new WorldTour events.
The latest information from the UCI means it is possible to make some basic observations:
- without ASO s events, but with an extra 25 race days, the 2017 WorldTour would comprise ~115 competition days
- with ASO s events, and with an extra 25 race days, the 2017 WorldTour would comprise ~175 competition days
- irrespective of whether there are three or up to ten new events, they clearly won t all be one day races (?25 additional days)
- if ASO bails, the UCI could register up to 10 new WorldTour events. That s a lot of admin in a short period of time, so;
- the UCI is no doubt hoping/planning that ASO will return for 2017
Of course, the above is by no means an extensive list of all possibilities and, if previous years are anything to go by, we ll have to wait until at least September before the 2017 WorldTour calendar is made public. In the interim, it remains a guessing game as to what new events might appear.
WHO DECIDES THE WORLDTOUR CALENDAR?
A quick explainer for anyone who might be interested in who the PCC is. While the UCI management committee, with guidance from its continental confederations, is responsible for determining the makeup of the World and Continental calendars, the PCC is given the task of designing the WorldTour calendar each year.
The PCC is composed of 12 members, as stated in its terms of reference [italics added by CiQ]:
1 member nominated by the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) which represents riders;
1 member nominated by the UCI Athletes Commission, a non-executive consultant to the UCI;
2 members nominated by the UCI ProTeams members of the AIGCP, which represents teams; at least one of whom should belong to a UCI ProTeam of a country where there are a maximum of two UCI ProTeams; 1 member nominated by holders of a UCI WorldTour licence for an event and who is member
of the AIOCC, which represents organizers;
1 member nominated by the organizers of the other UCI WorldTour races, and who is member of the AIOCC;
6 members appointed by the Management Committee.