Tour de France 2015 - stage 21
  • jules

    ASO needs the teams at its races too. They can’t be allowed to dictate terms. To submit would simply leave the teams at ASO’s whim on an ongoing basis. This could come to a head.

    • Dave

      I can’t see the teams being united enough to have a real impact in that area.

      We’ll see the true colours of a few of the team owners though. Even the high and mighty Jonathan Vaughters, self-appointed flappy-jaw-in-chief of the Velon association of team owners, will pull his head in a bit now he doesn’t have automatic entry to the Tour de France.

  • jules

    ASO needs the teams at its races too. They can’t be allowed to dictate terms. To submit would simply leave the teams at ASO’s whim on an ongoing basis. This could come to a head.

  • Ulf

    Not surprised. Why should ASO voluntarily help building up non ASO races. Rather they pull out and make the world tour worthless. It’d be interesting to read an expert’s opinion if this is an antitrust case and a mis-use of market power.

    • Chris MacKechnie

      It would be similar to Monaco pulling out of the Indy circuit.

      • Dave

        Monaco is a F1 race (usually run on the same day as the Indy 500) and F1 is so well organised that non-championship races simply don’t exist.

        More accurately if you’re looking for a previous real event in motorsport to compare it with, it would be like when the Le Mans 24 Hours pulled out of the World Sportscar Championship in the 1990s. As will most likely happen with the WorldTour, the championship faded into obscurity a couple of years later.

    • Dave

      If the WorldTour is rendered worthless by just one race owner withdrawing, then the current plan is too marginal and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

      Interestingly, the first version of the WorldTour reforms would have sorted this out, as a major cornerstone of the plans (since dropped) was to build the value of the WorldTour by having only one WorldTour event on at a time without any overlapping. Think about it as being like Test cricket – you don’t see Australia bringing down the value of Test cricket by having different squads playing in different Test Matches on the same day, but at the same time there is other lower-ranked cricket going on with Australian players involved.

      The UCI is the only body involved in this that I can see being at risk of doing something which could see them ending up in court over anti-competitive actions. They would also be at risk of essentially losing by default, as their funds are too low to tough out a fight.

  • lulz


  • ummm…

    So, let them all p*ss in the soup. Who cares. I an can still ride by bikes – and maybe with pro cycling gone the equipment will start to get back to reasonable prices.

  • Chris MacKechnie

    More corruption in an incredibly corrupt sport

    • A


  • Dave

    I can’t see this developing into a real crisis too quickly (the value of the WorldTour dropping is not a real crisis) unless the UCI does something amateur to provoke it.

    Scheduling WorldTour events during the three weeks that the Tour de France runs, for example, could see them sued for restraint of trade.

    This places the Tour Down Under, Vuelta a España and probably a few other races in good positions – they have their slots on the WorldTour calendar but also marketing agreements with ASO, so they could easily jump across if it develops into a full blown breakaway league situation.

    • jules

      I can’t see teams jumping across. ASO is their enemy – by maneuvering to keep max revenue. Indy Cars split was different – the major event – Indy 500 – could be run without Indy Cars. A new formula was adequate. But you successfully run the Tour with 2nd tier riders. They would need to attract top tier riders and teams. Im unsure ASO has that much pull.

      • Dave

        I think the Indy Racing League breakaway from Indycar (CART) is a better example than you think, although I expect the WorldTour’s decline to be more like the 1997-98 collapse of Super Touring in Australia than the gradual 13 years it took the Indycar/CART/ChampCar series to decline and get taken over by IRL. There was not a new formula initially, and the ‘locked in position’ strategy would be a good way for ASO to get teams signed up to their program of races without needing to actively exclude WorldTeams and non-aligned Pro Continental teams.

        I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this regarding 2017 though, there is certainly more to come from the ASO side. I wonder if they ended up being the buyer of RCS Sport, or if there are a few other race promoters waiting until their 2016 events are done before announcing their intention to join the ASO bloc?

        From the point we know we are at now, it won’t be hard (or costly) for ASO to get a few other promoters on board and offer an alternative series of races (still UCI sanctioned) to rival/succeed the WorldTour, with the UCI’s role reduced to just regulating the sport. The incentives needed to get teams to sign on with their program of races and walk away from the WorldTour wouldn’t need to be hugely expensive, just better than the level of mandatory participation fees from race organisers which already apply to WorldTeams at the moment. The pull of the big races will take care of the rest.

        Or to put it simply, to ‘win’ they just need to make sure that Pro-Conti + ASO big races + incentive payment is better than WorldTeam + leftover WorldTour races + no payment.

        • Tim Rowe

          The mention of SuperTouring in Australia got a chuckle out of me. Would the equivalent of that Volvo V40 Wagon in a cycling event be a tandem bike? Maybe we’ll see a repeat of the Morris/Longhurst biffo at Winton?

          • Dave

            Nah, the equivalent would be more a Dutch cargo bike with seats for the kids in front.

            I heard that Paul Morris was recently seen practicing how to change a bike wheel, because even he would be better than the average Shimano neutral service guy.

  • 900Aero

    Dear cyclists,
    Merry Christmas!

  • 900Aero

    UCI should regulate cycling and ensure the safety and wellbeing of its members as well as the longevity and growth of the sport. It does not need to be a race organiser beyond the annual world champs and it does not need to be an independent anti-doping organisation. Teams (and their peak body – currently Velon) and organisers should be responsible for competition within the framework provided by the governing body.

    • Dave

      I agree.

      The UCI has done a terrible job with the WorldTour, and it’s little wonder that race promoters and even some teams are questioning whether there is anything in it for them. If they were doing their job right and building the value of the WorldTour, ASO wouldn’t even be considering quitting it, let alone firing shots across the bow in public to get them back to the negotiating table.

      I get that the UCI kind of needs to act as a promoter of last resort with some of the other international competitions which are not viable, but top tier men’s road cycling would probably do better if some kind of two wheeled version of Bernie Ecclestone had the commercial rights.


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