UCI approves reforms for men's professional cycling

Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:54pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - The International Cycling Union (UCI) approved a series of sweeping reforms for men's road cycling, including an overhaul of the World Tour schedule, the sport's governing body said on Tuesday.

Among the key reforms, reached after more than two years of dialogue with major teams and organizers, the UCI said three-year licenses will be granted to a maximum of 18 World Teams for the 2017-2019 seasons.

The UCI said it hopes the longer licenses, which will be granted based on ethical, financial, sporting, administrative and organizational criteria, will encourage investment leading to increased stability in team structures.

"By implementing these key reforms, the UCI is sending a strong signal to cycling fans, broadcasters and commercial partners about the continued improvements in the governance and organizational structures of our sport," UCI President Brian Cookson said in a statement.

"This is an important moment for professional cycling and another major step forward as we continue to restore trust and credibility."

The announcement could help end a feud between the governing body and Tour de France organizer Amaury Sport Organisation who had threatened to pull their races from the UCI calendar over a lack of progress in the reform program.

The UCI also said on Tuesday that current participation rules will be maintained for existing World Tour events but new rules will be set for new events seeking to join the UCI World Tour to encourage growth and globalization.

A limited number of new races will also be added to the UCI World Tour from 2017, with an application process opening later in 2015.   Continued...

Britain's Brian Cookson, President of International Cycling Union (UCI) attends the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris, February 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Charles Platiau