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by Mark Zalewski
August 5, 2016
In Friday’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Morton repeats Utah stage win a year later; Gonçalves impresses in Portugal sprint; Van Poppel doubles wins in Burgos; Why the Tour of California’s move to WorldTour could be bad for US cycling; ‘Dream signing’ Michael Matthews confirmed by Giant-Alpecin; Preview: What you need to know about the men’s road race at the Rio Olympics; Dennis crashes on Rio course recon; Roche: A fourth Tour win for Froome will be complicated; Contador testing climbing legs in Burgos attack; AG2R La Mondiale signs Naesen and Vandenbergh for two seasons; Kluge signs with ORICA-BikeExchange; Davis Phinney’s ’84 Olympics bike and the golden dream that almost was; Study: Bicycle laws, infrastructure marginalizes poor; Drink developed for military boosts cycling performance; Five Crazy Moments in Olympic Cycling History; Wiggins set for final Olympic chapter – part two; Queensland state velodrome construction time-lapse
On Tuesday afternoon, cycling’s governing body, the UCI, abruptly announced the2017 WorldTour calendar. The WorldTour will expand drastically in 2017 from 27 to 37 events with nations such as the United States, Qatar and United Arab Emirates becoming the latest to host WorldTour events. The announcement ended months of rumour, with the Amgen Tour of California confirmed on the list of new events.
From the outside, The Tour of California’s move to the WorldTour seems like a positive — it expands the calendar globally and brings a higher level of racing to the U.S. However, within U.S. cycling, there’s another view entirely.
CyclingTips spoke with a range of team directors and riders from various levels of the sport and the feeling is that the move will be harmful to the development of U.S. cycling.
“It doesn’t help grassroots programs like ours, for sure not,” said Axel Merckx, the owner and director of Axeon Hagens Berman, a long-standing development team in the U.S. “We’ll see, it’s still early and they just announced it and we’ll see if the rules are going to change or not.
“I hope we’ll get a say and we’ll be able to at least have a shot at maybe participating some how to the race because if you forget about the grassroots and you forget about the development in cycling then you’re just not thinking long term. You’re thinking short term and that would be a big mistake for cycling in the U.S. because already Colorado is disappearing and all of a sudden teams like us can’t do races like Tour of California. There’s not a whole lot left here and it’s going to be hard to keep the sponsors around and to keep them investing in development in the future of cycling.”
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