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  • NEcyclist88

    Can’t wait to hear the rationale behind the decision to exclude Axeon from atoc. What an unbelievable bunch of bull shit that will be.

    • DaveRides

      Because the race organisers decided to have their race included in the WorldTour, which makes it open only to WorldTour teams and Professional Continental teams.

      Merckx and the other team bosses should change tack. There are three things they could push for which are wholly within the current rules of the sport:
      1. For a USA National Team to be included at ATOC, like the TDU has UniSA-Australia and the GP Quebec has Canada.
      2. For a domestic-level race to run in conjunction with ATOC, a one day race at first but perhaps turning into a stage race in the future.
      3. For a Class 1 or HC race to be held in the US just before ATOC to give them another race where they can rub shoulders with the big boys – like Isowhey-SwissWellness getting into the Cadel Race curtain raiser crit even though they couldn’t enter the WorldTour race itself.

      They can also lobby USA Cycling to push for the UCI rules for WorldTour races to be changed, perhaps to allow for WorldTour races outside of the big three European countries (France, Italy, Belgium) to have the option for the organiser to give a wildcard to the host country’s best Continental team. This would be a much longer fight, but still worth keeping up a bit of pressure in the background alongside the other options which can be put into play as soon as somebody has the will to do it.

      • Well said Dave. Perhaps the USA National Team option would be the easiest to achieve? Not nearly the same as having the team in, but at least the best young riders should get to race.

        • DaveRides

          That would certainly be the easiest to achieve, as it would not require organising another race or changing UCI rules.

          Teams actually need to fight for the sport, not just make noises about doing so.

  • cthenn

    Them’s the breaks when this race was elevated to WT. As a Californian, I do like seeing the Continental teams in the race, as they normally actually come to race hard. I’ve been in the roadside crowds, many of the WT (European) riders treat these races as tune-ups, and holiday rides in a foreign country. The teams like Merckx’s will actually animate the race to the best of their ability.

    So this is the trade off. You want the prestige of being WT, hopefully ensuring the race’s longevity for years to come, but with that comes fewer and fewer of the small teams that come to race. I’m not gonna lie…I’d love to see the big names racing around roads I know, even if they are half-assing it.

  • Spencer Martin

    I’m very confused. Was there a rule change in the past few weeks that now allows Continental teams to compete in UCI WorldTour events? If there hasn’t been a rule change and WT events are just inviting teams at will, regardless of their status, whats the point of granting these events WT status?

    It feels like inconsistencies like this would only undermine the strictly standardized schedule that the UCI has been attempting to construct.

    • Superpilot

      Only WT or Pro Conti teams previously, and the changes you mention are not that clear. No Aus conti teams could compete at Cadel once it bumped up to WT, even though they’d been there previously (my understanding).

      This is the top level cutting off the nose to spite the face. If the WT races get downgraded, there won’t be any underlying teams to fill it in, because all the wider coverage of the local teams has been taken away, so no sponsors, so no teams.

      I know the WT riders complain all the time about the lower level teams being a nightmare in the bunch, but for the business side, for the health of the sport, those lower level teams must be there and have something for those riders to aspire to, and test their mettle, IMHO.

      • DaveRides

        I think this is an overreaction as we are only talking about one race being upgraded here, not the whole season.

        As I’ve written already, there are plenty of opportunities for expansion here:
        1. Push for the inclusion of a USA National Team in the AToC field.
        2. Add a domestic-level race to the AToC program.
        3. Create a new Class 1 race before AToC where there can be a mixed field with some WT teams, some PCT and some CT – and which could serve as a selection trial for the national team to race at AToC.

        In my opinion it’s good for the USA to have one aspirational race which requires more than just filling out the correct forms to enter. Even if it only operates as a WT race for a couple of years, it should help stimulate the asking of some searching questions which had been allowed to go unexplored while AToC was serving as such an easy option in the past.

    • Neal Rogers

      It is very confusing. Addressed (as well as possible) back in November, here:
      https://cyclingtips.com/2016/11/worldtour-lite-participation-not-mandatory-for-uci-worldteams-at-10-new-worldtour-events/

      VeloNews is reporting today that Rally and one other Continental team are invited:
      http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/rally-gets-california-invite-axeon-holowesko-excluded_432012

      • DaveRides

        If the VeloNews report is correct and there has been a recent change to the rules, I would find that very surprising.

        Probably best to wait for the real announcement or at least a story with a real source rather than just a “we have confirmed” teaser.

    • DaveRides

      If the UCI has changed the rules I think they would have announced it.

      It was suggested that Continental teams from the host nation may be allowed to take up slots not filled in the new Diet WorldTour races. However, so far there is no evidence of that provision actually having been approved because all of the four new Diet WorldTour races held so far have managed to get a full field of 18+ teams within the existing rules.

      Cadel’s Race: 13 WT teams (no Astana, Bahrain, FDJ, Movistar, UAE) + 4 PCT + Australia = 18 teams total
      Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: 15 WT (no Dimension Data, Movistar, UAE) + 10 PCT = 25 (full 200 rider field)
      Abu Dhabi Tour: 16 WT (no Cannondale, FDJ) + 4 PCT = 20
      Strade Bianche: 18 WT + 3 PCT = 21

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