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by Mark Zalewski
February 4, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Rowe solos to stage 2 Sun Tour win, Howson retains yellow despite late puncture; Magnus Cort Nielsen wins sprint finish at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana; Calmejane wins Etoile de Bessèges stage, takes over lead; Two sides to every story: Grivko shares account of Dubai skirmish with Kittel that led to expulsion; Organisers shorten then cancel Dubai Tour stage over high winds; Brailsford responds to Cooke’s allegations; Cholet Pays de Loire race cancelled for 2017; Citing lack of team participation, Tour of Turkey seeks to postpone to fall; Is cycling globalisation spreading teams too thin?; Van der Poel eyeing mountain bike races again for 2017; Rossignol acquires Felt Bicycles; Die-in demonstration planned for British Treasury; Routes announced for 2018 Commonwealth Games road events; Backstage Pass: Jayco Herald Sun Tour, stages 1-3.
An outcome of the UCI trying to expand the reach of cycling around the world is that teams and top racers are becoming spread thin, resulting in the unintended consequence of some European races finding it difficult to attract top teams. This in turn makes finding sponsorship more difficult.
Are too many races outside of traditional cycling countries hurting the sport where it is most popular?
VeloNews reports that the Italian race GP Costa degli Etruschi has only one WorldTour team this year, compared to previous years which traditionally saw the likes of Alessandro Petacchi and Mario Cipollini. The Tour de Langkawi also reported that it is having trouble attracting top teams, with only Dimension Data representing the WorldTour this year.
“You can arrive at the answer yourself. There are too many races going on at same time and you can see the economic conditions take hold,” race director Adriano Amici told VeloNews.
When taken with the cancellation of many historic European races this year, one could ask if the push to globalise the sport is a form of ‘cutting off the nose to spite the face.’ While expansion of the sport outside of the traditional centre of the sport is a noble cause, it will be for nought if it results in a destabilisation of its foundation. And in the case of Langkawi, having weak attendance does not help races grow in places where cycling is not mainstream.
“We are trying to achieve a balance here,” UCI president Brian Cookson has said. “Some of the races in the heartland have disappeared, but there is massive interest in other parts of the world. Cycling cannot always can be in northern Europe, and it has to expand. It’s a balance, and we are in a period to see what happens in the next three years.”
Click through to read more at VeloNews.