The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is delighted to announce that its Management Committee has approved the key principles for the reform of men’s professional road cycling which have been discussed at the meeting of the Professional Cycling Council during this week’s UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, USA.
Following more than two years of dialogue and consultation with stakeholders, the reforms will be part of the key governance changes implemented at the UCI by President Brian Cookson since his election in 2013. The reform will provide additional support and a platform for sustainable growth for the teams and other stakeholders, building on the successes achieved so far in restoring credibility in the sport.
As part of the changes, three year UCI WorldTour licences will be granted to a maximum of 18 UCI WorldTeams for the 2017-2019 seasons. It is hoped that this will encourage investment leading to increased stability in team structures. Licences will be granted based on ethical, financial, sporting, administrative and organisational criteria.
To further strengthen team integrity and anti-doping measures, the UCI has also developed the team’s internal operational requirements (known as the “Cahier des Charges”) which will be mandatory for all UCI WorldTeams from 2017.
The Team’s Cahier des Charges centres on ten main rules designed to ensure that all riders are properly supported and supervised. Already trialled in 2014, further testing of the system is taking place this season and next in advance of its mandatory application as a licence condition. This knowledge and experience will be used also for implementation of an appropriate set of organisational criteria for teams in the next tier below UCI WorldTeams in 2018.
Building on the strengths of the existing UCI WorldTour calendar, a limited number of new races will also be added to the UCI WorldTour from 2017, with an application process opening later in 2015. It is hoped that the addition of new high quality events will help the UCI WorldTour re-inforce its global profile as the elite series of the sport.
New and existing UCI WordTour events and races which apply to join the series will be assessed against strict organisational standards by event organisers (the Organiser’s Cahier des Charges), ensuring the best events are included in the tour giving the calendar a more robust structure. These standards – which have begun to be implemented this season – seek to build on the considerable investment made by organisers in delivering the highest quality events.
The current participation rules will be maintained for existing UCI WorldTour events but new rules will be set for new events seeking to join the UCI WorldTour to encourage growth and globalisation.
A reform of the rankings for men’s professional road cycling has also been taken forward with the Individual Rankings becoming universal across all events from the top to the third tier. The Nations Rankings will also be universal based on the Individual Rankings of the top eight riders from each country. The UCI WorldTeams Rankings will be based on UCI WorldTour events only, while the second-tier team rankings will be based on UCI WorldTour and second-tier events. Details of the reformed system will be finalised in advance of the 2016 season.
It was also agreed that individual specialist rankings would be considered to reward the top climber, top sprinter, top one-day rider and top stage racer to further increase fan and media engagement.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “These are important changes that will help to further enhance men’s professional road cycling and aide its global growth and development. I would like to thank all stakeholders for their positive and constructive approach to this reform process. I believe that the measures announced today will help to bring greater stability and growth to men’s professional road cycling while also opening the door to greater technological innovation and fan engagement.
“By implementing these key reforms, the UCI is sending a strong signal to cycling fans, broadcasters and commercial partners about the continued improvements in the governance and organisational structures of our sport. This is an important moment for professional cycling and another major step forward as we continue to restore trust and credibility.”