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by Mark Zalewski
November 26, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Top race organisers reduce team and peloton sizes in Grand Tours, Classics and other events; Provisional Australian NRS calendar released for 2017: Four races added, two return; UCI officially issues WorldTour, ProContinental licenses; WADA publishes 2015 testing report; WADA suspends Mexico City lab; Russian Paralympic Committee given long list of rules for reinstatement by IPC; CANYON//SRAM announces 2017 roster; An Post-ChainReaction solidifies roster; Former NFTO team loses title sponsor, in jeopardy of closing; Former pro found guilty after race crash caused rider death; Death of British cyclist who fell off cliff in Pyrenees ruled accidental; Cyclist breaks Billie Fleming’s 77-year-old record; Best of the 2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour.
More open, aggressive Grand Tours and Classics look possible from next season, with some of the biggest race organisers announcing that they will reduce the number of riders permitted on each team in their events. Tour de France and Vuelta a España organiser ASO, Giro d’Italia owner RCS Sport and Flanders Classics have all taken the decision, stating on Friday that they will drop team numbers by one. This should reduce the control any one team can have on an event, and will be particularly noticed in the third week of Grand Tours when fatigue is more and more a factor.
“Following the General Assembly of the International Association of Cycling Race Organizers (AIOCC), RCS Sport, Flanders Classics and A.S.O have taken the decision to reduce the number of riders per team at the start of their races,” said ASO and RCS Sport in a joint statement. The number of riders per team will thus decrease from 9 to 8 on the Grand Tours and from 8 to 7 on the other events.”
The move has long been spoken about as a possibility. Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme made his feelings known on the matter last year and again during this year’s Tour.
In July UCI president Brian Cookson told CyclingTips he had mixed feelings about the subject.
“Well, I think there are two sides to that argument,” he said in Paris on the final day of the Tour. “You could say that even smaller numbers of riders on each team would make for even more unpredictable racing. I think it is going to be a hard one to sell to the teams. It would also mean that a team would only ever focus on one objective; they wouldn’t have a climbing half and a sprinter half, or a time trial couple of riders.”
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