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by Mark Zalewski
December 8, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: UCI insists no reduction to team sizes in 2017; Jack Bobridge on retiring at 27: ‘At the end of the day health comes first’; One less WorldTour team in 2017? Rider agent ‘very concerned’ about Chinese team TJ Sport; Velon creating new race series; Stefan Schumacher signs with Kuwait-Cartucho.es; Kenyan cyclist who lost leg in crash talks about life after amputation; Tom Boonen: I needed a sports psychologist after Abu Dhabi Tour crash; Cameron Wurf returning to pro racing with triathlon ambitions; Four days of Dunkirk reveals course and name change to Tour des Hauts-de-France; Giro del Trentino becomes Tour of the Alps; 2017 Oceania Track Cycling Championships; Record-setting attempt to ride around Great Britain underway; Strava calculates the fastest cyclists by country; KASK extends sponsorship with Team Sky; Christian Meier on his final pro race; Adorable cyclocross racer shows how barriers are done.
Contradicting the fait accompli announcement made by the Grand Tour organisers plus Flanders Classics on November 25, the UCI has told professional squads and other stakeholders that team sizes will not be reduced for 2017 events. Last month Tour de France and Vuelta a España organiser ASO, Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport and Flanders Classics – who, between them, run 28 of the sport’s biggest races – said that they had agreed to cut current rider numbers by one. This would see Grand Tour squads field eight competitors each, and those riding the other events to line out with seven.
In a joint statement, both ASO and RCS Sport explained the reasoning behind the move.
“This decision responds to two-pronged objective: the first being to improve the safety conditions for the riders with a smaller peloton on roads equipped with more and more street furniture. The second, which is a fortunate consequence of the first, is to make it more difficult to dominate a race as well as enhance conditions for events to offer better racing for cycling fans.”
However according to Spanish publication AS, this was premature and the UCI has definitely ruled it out this week. On Tuesday the UCI World Tour Seminar was held in Mallorca and while this didn’t directly address the team size numbers, the governing body told teams the latest position.
It said that the statement released by the three race organisers was a request only and that the Professional Cycling Council (CCP) ‘has not taken any decision.’ It stressed that as a result, ‘the regulation would not be modified by 2017.’
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