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It is not clear what the World Tour is any more

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From a distance, cycling’s WorldTour series appears bigger and more powerful than ever for 2017 – but critics say the dwelling is starting to become increasingly diluted and confusing for fans.

Just yesterday, the UCI added its 11th new race towards the 2017 WorldTour calendar. It confirmed that the Tour of Guangxi in China would get in on the top tier of professional bike racing.

The end result is the fact that the WorldTour has ballooned from 27 to 38 races when it comes to year ahead. The series now appears truly global, with events in China, Turkey, the Middle East, therefore the U.S.A – and undoubtedly the UK, where RideLondon is currently an element of the top roster. These new additions augment the original calendar events that each and every cyclist dreams of winning, including iconic races such as for instance Milan-San Remo and also the Tour de France.

The catch: the 18 World Teams teams may choose if they attend the newest 11 events. They’ve been needed to indulge in the others, as has been the situation because the series began since the ProTour in 2005; nevertheless, the new events remain optional.

For insiders such as for example Richard Plugge of team LottoNL-Jumbo, this new pick-and-mix way of the World Tour is damaging to the brand and to its option of new fans.

One of the new WorldTour fixtures are long-running and proven events such as Strade Bianche in Siena, Italy, and also the Tour of California, along with less established races in Turkey and China. Whatever their history, those races now carry the exact same WorldTour tag since the Tour de France or Paris-Roubaix.“We should keep it as clear as possible for any audience,” Plugge told Cycling Weekly. “It’s not really clear what the WorldTour is, and which races are very important and those which are not important. You need to explain at lot to keep the viewers on the right track.”

Unlike those famous races, however, organisers associated with the new 11 events don’t have any guarantee that the very best 18 teams will attend. It really is an unfortunate consequence; however, the teams fought for voluntary participation when the UCI said it wished to add races to a currently busy calendar.

Plugge, that is a board member of the AIGCP (the association representing the teams), said they certainly were discussing how to proceed when the UCI added the races towards the calendar in August.

“You could say we had been bullied because of the UCI by them using the decision before our consultation process finished,” he added. “We could have said yes so that the outcome would’ve been the exact same anyway.

“If you add days, it requires through a due process with all the main stakeholders. You must ensure that the WorldTour calendar is certainly not evaluated with the days added.”

The ASO, cycling’s top organiser because of the Tour de France, presented the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire route today. The race, with 2.1 statuses, ranks two levels underneath the WorldTour. ASO says it offers no aspirations to acquire the race promoted in the foreseeable future.

“Cycling is a pyramid,” Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme said. “You can’t have every race in the fieldTour, otherwise the WorldTour wouldn’t mean anything.

“The Tour de France is near the top of the pyramid, but every pyramid needs a big base. For me personally the target just isn’t to get the Tour de Yorkshire into the entire worldTour, the most crucial goal is the fact that we create a race with a superb backdrop, steep climbs, brilliant racing, and passion of the fans.”

 

The fans and cycling insiders are scratching their heads because of the direction the WorldTour is certainly going. Though new races in China present lots of opportunities for development and business, they are going to hold less importance if the top teams choose to not ever attend.

Alain Rumpf, who struggled to obtain the UCI and presided on the former Tour de Beijing organiser from 2011 to 2014, was similarly critical.

“I’m still struggling to comprehend what the WorldTour label means,” he said.

“What’s the status associated with the WorldTour and precisely what does it mean to stay in the WorldTour? In the event that you have only a couple of teams participating, then exactly what will it mean? What’s the distinction between these races being within the WorldTour or [a level below as] an HC race?

“I don’t understand it and I also don’t think this is actually the strategy to use for the sport.”

The issue does not look as though it will probably disappear completely anytime soon. The UCI has given new races like the Tour of Guangxi a three-year deal that may keep it into the WorldTour until 2019. If you are interested in Folding bikes mountain bikes than Read the review article at

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