The peloton crests Patterson Pass in Livermore, CA, the second of three KOM points on the queen stage.
  • Dave

    The eagerness of 10 WorldTour teams to immediately sign on the dotted line after the Tour of California launched a new deal with ASO is very telling – the teams (i.e. Velon) are either defecting to the ASO faction or choosing not to pick sides at this point. They certainly aren’t showing anything remotely resembling the loyalty that the establishment would have been hoping for.

    ASO are already very close to being able to launch their own WorldTour replacement. They currently have 7/27 WorldTour races, including 2/3 Grand Tours and 2/5 Monuments (i.e. half of the WorldTour’s legitimacy). If you add in the others they own or operate which are currently outside the WorldTour (Criterium International, Paris-Tours, California, Yorkshire, Oman, Arctic Race, World Ports Classic, Deutschland Tour from next year) then they are already up to a total of 15 races (vs the UCI with 20) even without the cooperation of any races that have ASO marketing agreements (the TDU is one) or any new races being created.

    If ASO can manage to get cooperation from the organisers of 2-3 more races – ideally one of Flanders Classics or RCS – then it’s game over for the WorldTour.

    It’s also telling that the UCI said they had “21 applicants for four WorldTour race licences” in a recent press release. Seven is the number of ASO events which ASO is threatening to withdraw from the WorldTour. The UCI, it would seem, is wisely thinking of only replacing four ASO races and not trying to compete with the big three of the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix and Liège–Bastogne–Liège.

    • Marionabutters


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  • Larry @CycleItalia

    As of now, ASO and LeTour ARE pro cycling whether the UCI or Velon like it or not. I can’t see how ASO can be beaten and wonder if RCS will end up a casualty of the battle? Personally I like ASO’s vision of pro cycling far more than the likes of the Velons…and I’m no fan of the French!!!

    • Sarasmcreynolds3


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    • H.E. Pennypacker

      What do you like about it? (Not disagreeing, just curious)

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        There was an interview with ASO’s Prudhomme in a recent issue of Bicisport in which he explained his view of the sport vs the UCI/Velon. I agreed with most of what he said there, but I’m not going to paraphrase all of it, perhaps you can find it online somewhere? I’m NO fan of the French but in this case I think they’re the only adults in the room in this fight over control of pro cycling.

        • H.E. Pennypacker

          Thanks, I’ll check it out.

    • Dave

      Yeah, the combination of long-term stability and openness to sustainable globalisation offered by ASO (have you ever heard of an ASO event in any sport being cancelled due to a last-minute sponsorship withdrawal?) is what road cycling needs.

      The arrangement of motorsport’s World Endurance Championship could be a good model to follow in the future – the FIA regulates motorsport, but licences out the organising rights for the championship to ACO. This sort of arrangement with ASO (subject to a certain number of non-ASO events being included) would be good for the allowing the UCI to focus on regulating the sport instead of trying to drive it at the same time.

      It’s worth remembering that all of the other current WorldTour event promoters also disagreed with the UCI’s reforms for the same reasons, but none of them are big enough to take their ball and go home. The UCI will find no allies there, and they should be very wary about relying on the support of Velon who will take quick cash from anyone.

  • erkcyclisme

    ASO’s intentions could mirror what Tony George, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, did in 1996 forming the Indy Racing League to compete against the established CART. Messick is correct: AEG owns Amgen TOC, not ASO. The latter staged this year’s event by lowballing previous event organizer Medalist Sports. ASO does what’s best for ASO, not necessarily professional cycling.

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