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The New World Tour

The UCI has announced the World Tour Calendar for 2017 with 10 new events promoted and a total of 30 days of racing added. The new events help plug holes in the calendar but risk diluting the prestige of the prime calendar and while the new races join the calendar a mooted rule change means the newly promoted events could still have a secondary status.


The 10 novelties are:

– 29 January: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (Australia)
– 6-10 February: Tour of Qatar (Qatar)
– 23-26 February: Abu Dhabi Tour (United Arab Emirates)
– 25 February: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Belgium)
– 4 March: Strade Bianche (Italy)
– 22 March: Dwars Door Vlaanderen / A travers la Flandre (Belgium)
– 18-23 April: Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (Turkey)
– 1 May: Eschborn-Frankfurt « Rund um den Finanzplatz » (Germany)
– 14-21 May: Amgen Tour of California (United States)
– 30 July: Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic (Great Britain)

What have these races all got in common? It’s hard to know, there’s no set matrix of criteria for a race to meet before joining the World Tour and all vary according to type, prestige, ambition, funding, quality, TV reach and more. Instead of looking them as a whole, each has their own role or merit:

  • The Cadel Evans race seems logical enough given the World Tour peloton is already “Down Under” in January
  • The two Gulf races in Qatar and Abu Dhabi make sense for the way the calendar has looked odd with the Tour Down Under in January and then nothing until mid-March when Paris-Nice started so the UCI has filled the gap here. However there’s filling the gap and there’s prestigious racing . Qatar and Abu Dhabi are “sandbox” races where teams fine tune their spring classics teams ahead of the Flemish spring, they’re fiercely fought but, like several other additions, just not equivalent to some other stage races on the World Tour
  • The Strade Bianche and Het Nieuwsblad have become default spring classics that defied their prior HC status
  • Races like Eschborn-Frankfurt, the Ride London Surrey “classic” and the Tour of California fill important marketing niches in valuable consumer markets which sponsors crave. Interestingly the Tour of Britain is not World Tour
  • Turkey is a country of 75 million so at a stroke the World Tour’s reach grows with the inclusion of this race. The Tour of Turkey has long been slated to move up and finally gets the nod. It’s struggled with organisation and the country is in the news for political turmoil. If conditions deteriorate then teams can be excused, you might remember the Tour of Beijing quietly excusing the likes of Skil-Shimano because of their Japanese connections at a time of heightened anti-Japanese sentiment in China

Inevitably a few will shout “it’s all about the money” but as loyal readers will know from the breakdown of the UCI finances the registration fees for 2015 amounted to CHF 931,000 (about the same in US Dollars), a gross income item against which commissaires, staff and other expenses are netted off… and the result was a loss last year. Perhaps it’ll swing to a profit but the point is World Tour race fees are no bonanza.

Geographic spread: the “World Tour” has never looked worldly. The map above shows countries visited by the 2016 World Tour and the one below shows those on the 2017 calendar.

There’s more red but we’re still missing whole continents and even tagging a country is superficial, one visit to California doesn’t equate to reaching the whole of the USA. It remains very European with several of the new additions going to countries that have a lot of races already. Belgium, cycling’s truest heartland, had six World Tour races already, more than any other country, now with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Dwars Door Vlaanderen it gets eight. France meanwhile retains its place as the country with the most number of race days, 39, thanks to the accumulation of the Tour de France plus Paris-Nice, the Dauphiné and more.

The longest weekend: the calendar has always looked incoherent to outsiders thanks to clashing races, for example Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico overlap. Superficially it’s like having two Formula 1 Grand Prix races on the same weekend or two IAAF Diamond League track meets on the same evening. Only cycling isn’t the same, the World Tour peloton is roughly 500 riders strong so it’s possible to have teams racing on different fronts and stars in each location, especially as the clashing races don’t face significant competition on television. However this logic will be stretched next year on the last weekend of July when the traditional Clásica San Sebastian weekend also hosts the Tour of Poland and new World Tour race the Ride London Surrey Classic meaning the peloton will be split three ways. San Sebastian is on a Saturday so it’s possible some riders to fly to London for Sunday’s race but that’s only one logistical component, there are team cars, trucks and more. Remember too that this is just after the Tour de France meaning all teams will have some fatigued riders too.

Continental divide: changes always have unintended consequences and one element at the margin here is the survival of UCI Continental teams. The Tour of California’s promotion could mean all the World Tour teams ride leaving only few places left for local invites from the lower tier Continental teams in the USA. These teams lose TV airtime and to cut things short their reason for existing: would Jelly Belly and Axeon Hagen Bermans stick or fold? A price to pay in order to grant the US a World Tour race? Perhaps but the solution is to have more US races on TV although easier said than done given the massive costs involved, it’s estimated the now defunct USA Pro Challenge in Colorado was costing close to $1 million a day to stage.

The Exception to the rule? However the new joiners could still have a secondary status whereby all the top teams are not compelled to attend. Here’s an excerpt from a UCI press release from June:

for new UCI WorldTour events, participation rules which will ensure that a minimum of 10 UCI WorldTeams take part will be proposed by the UCI for approval at the next meeting of the PCC.

So far it’s just a proposal but it’s saying not every World Tour team has to ride. As a result the field could be made up of more Pro Conti invites… and maybe some Conti teams too… which makes it look a lot like an HC race. So is it really the World Tour? Yes because the race is part of the series with corresponding premium points but it can lead to confusion where a rider may win the World Tour because their team rode more participatory events ahead of another rider whose team did not.

Conclusion
What does it all mean? The World Tour is a readily-used label that does signify a higher level of racing. This isn’t necessarily more entertaining nor more prestigious but the presence of all the top teams means a higher degree of competition.

The addition of 30 more days means a fuller calendar. A status change for races is just that, a change in label from HC to WT. Adding more events dilutes the contest, especially if some end up with secondary status where not all the teams have to attend, they pay for a premium label only to find some teams don’t want to attend. As such “World Tour” is an administrative label and fans will continue to discriminate between events on the calendar. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad or Tour of California don’t become any more prestigious because of their elevation to the World Tour just as there’s no equating existing World Tour races like the Paris-Roubaix and the Bretagne Classic, each race has its place and status independent on the governing body. Watch to see if the new events are compulsory or not, if they are not then the label change will mean even less.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • denominator Thursday, 4 August 2016, 1:35 pm

    What is the status of TdF and other ASO races next season? Aren’t they going to become HC races?
    I expected a slower version of WT promoting, starting say with one Near East, White Roads, California and something in the UK, just to give ASO the time to get used to it.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 4 August 2016, 1:38 pm

      That row has been defused and so all the usual races stay on the calendar, ie the Tour de France etc.

      • Dave Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:17 pm

        I wonder if ASO knew about the expansion plans when they agreed the two year truce with the UCI a couple of months ago?

        I also wonder whether this will affect the decision of Bora-hansgrohe to upgrade to WT registration for next year? They don’t need the WorldTour to guarantee entry to big races, not while they have star power to win invites instead.

  • Jonnus Thursday, 4 August 2016, 1:45 pm

    ” Interestingly the Tour of Britain is not World Tour”

    I was under the impression ToB didn’t want to be a World Tour race due to the obligation to invite all the WorldTeams, leaving fewer spaces for Pro-Continental / Domestic teams based in the UK. It’s interesting therefore to see the suggestion to remove this obligation for the ‘new’ races.

    I’m trying to find a link for this belief – but it’s eluding me at the moment

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 4 August 2016, 2:12 pm

      You’re impression’s right, some races don’t want to be part of it or are not ready at the moment. But it would also clash with the Vuelta and the Canadian races too, not prohibitive but not ideal too.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 4 August 2016, 7:49 pm

        Yes, but the other reason that ToB organisers give for not wanting to join the World Tour is their desire to stick with six rider teams to keep the race hard to control. It suggests a more thoughtful approach to race organisation – they run an unpredictable, watchable race which still elicits good media coverage and connects well with the locals, partly because it is the opportunity for UK-based teams to show themselves against the big boys. Promotion would just cost more licencing fees to the UCI and limit their options.

        • John Irvine Friday, 5 August 2016, 6:16 am

          Does the TOB still not allow race radios?

          • Sam Friday, 5 August 2016, 11:35 am

            Race radios are allowed now – across the calendar.

    • StevhanTI Thursday, 4 August 2016, 4:56 pm

      I always thought the same was true for the Tour Of Cali too, not WT because not interested. I’m curious to see how many American riders will actually take the start next year.

      • Dave Thursday, 4 August 2016, 5:03 pm

        ATOC will be (if the calendar is approved) one of the new non-compulsory events for the WT teams. I expect that Continental teams from the USA will be allowed to make up the numbers in place of those WT teams which decide not to accept the invite.

  • KGB Thursday, 4 August 2016, 1:55 pm

    For me, the new additions to the World Tour continue the confusion over what it is. The World Tour appears to be different things to different people. For the teams it ensures they get invited to the most prestigious race(s). For some of the races it ensures the best teams turn up. I don’t know how much the riders and fans care.

    So I had a look at the UCI website to find out if they have a clear idea of what the World Tour is. Their annual report appears to describe the World Tour as a competition – yet another interpretation.

    “The UCI WorldTour brings together the most prestigious one-day and stage races of the season, in particular the classics and Grand Tours, and features the biggest teams and best riders in the world. Points are awarded throughout the season. Ultimately the rider, team and country heading the rankings are crowned champions.”

    • Larry T Thursday, 4 August 2016, 2:38 pm

      Exactly – they may as well call it what it is: “Heinie’s Folly”. It’s done pretty much nothing except drive up costs and exclude teams without big budgets from too many events.
      The UCI seems obsessed with ruining the sport in the same way F1 and MotoGP have been ruined: racing in places where nobody cares about the sport, ie where the most money is.
      All at the expense of the traditional races in traditional cycling countries. I keep trying to remember what the problem was that the World/Pro/Whatever-it-is-this year Tour was supposed to fix?

  • hahostolze Thursday, 4 August 2016, 2:15 pm

    Madness. The calendar is full as it is. Some of the races they’ve added are barely above mediocre in level (Cadel Evans, RideSurrey) and some are boring as hell. Shame.

    • Dave Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:25 pm

      London-Surrey looked like a road version of a post-Tour crit this year. A handful of names, some action in the middle and all ‘miraculously’ coming together for a bunch kick.

      • Vitus Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:58 pm

        What’s a “road version of a post-Tour crit”, which are road races too? I’d go with bigger version of a post-Tour crit.

      • ArgyllFlyer Tuesday, 9 August 2016, 9:39 am

        Don’t recall there being any TV coverage of much of the last 1okm to make any conclusion about how it all came back together

    • Augie March Thursday, 4 August 2016, 4:43 pm

      From your ill-informed and ill-mannered comment it’s clear you’ve never seen a minute of the Cadel Evans race, as both editions now have seen proper hard, unpredictable classics-style racing. Yeah the event’s brand new, but Milan San Remo’s got all the history in the world and hasn’t seen much interesting racing in the past few years.

  • RonDe Thursday, 4 August 2016, 2:30 pm

    Seems a bit of a mess, especially if World Tour teams’ participation is not mandatory. They should also be ensuring ZERO race overlaps. It all seems very unprofessional from the UCI once more. Are they doing this properly or just messing about trying to please as many people as possible?

  • ShortsNL Thursday, 4 August 2016, 2:38 pm

    @ Inrng

    To what extent are the new races ASO-owned/organized?

    I have the theory that the UCI is doing this in an attempt to reduce the ASO’s dominance over the WT

    Thanks

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 4 August 2016, 2:46 pm

      ASO has direct links but not full ownership of Qatar and California so the choices above are not that political, 13 of the 30 extra days suit ASO in some way.

  • Richard S Thursday, 4 August 2016, 2:54 pm

    This makes what looks like an over crowded calendar seem like a structure-less farce. Too many races, too many races that are too similar to each other and far far too many overlaps. I could’ve got on board with making one of the desert races world tour just to fill the gap between the Tour of Oz and Paris-Nice, along with Strade Bianche and Omploop. Strade Bianche deserves the upgrade I think most of us will agree, and all the big guns do Omloop so that doesn’t really do any harm either. But Dwars Door Vlanderen? I don’t see the point, personally I’d have downgraded E3 to make space for Omloop. The lack of a race in the US needed fixing too I suppose. The rest I just don’t think are special enough or important enough to warrant the upgrade to an already bursting calendar. I personally think it would make more sense to just have a ‘Pro Tour’ (taking the world out means nobody has to feel guilty about the races being concentrated in Europe) of one day races where at least you’d get the same riders racing each other more or less for an understandable narrative. Stage races are better left as stand alone, the Grand Tours are a championship in themselves and the one week races only serve as warm up races if we are honest.

  • RJS Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:03 pm

    Given the problems with accidents causing the Ride London sportive to be hugely delayed, forcing the pro race to be neutralised for 25 minutes while the stragglers were cleared away, I wonder what lessons will be learned for next year? It would be even worse for this to happen again to a WT race.

    The whole event is billed in the UK as a mass participation event with pro races tacked on the end, and I’m sure that’s the good CSR that Prudential is looking for as a sponsor. Is that compatible with a WT race? Although I was delighted to be able to see three Paris-Roubaix winners mill around the start area on Sunday, the race itself is pretty mediocre, and I’m not sure how it could be made to be more challenging given the logistics of narrow Surrey lanes and the geography of that area being what it is.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:05 pm

      Worth adding that the decision to promote the race was taken months ago, just formally approved later on and then announced this week. Certainly the London race needs improvement but logistical concerns and bad TV apply to many races, see London’s rival San Sebastian last year.

      • RJS Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:15 pm

        Absolutely true, hopefully next year they can both be televised flawlessly and the weekend would be less frustrating! 😉

        Out of interest, is there any consequence for team sizes in being a WT race? Ride London with 8-man WT squads with interest in WT points would be even more of a dead-cert to finish in a mass sprint, surely? The smaller teams and UK conti squads going up the road at least make for some early action.

        • Dave Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:23 pm

          The minimum size for a WT event to set is seven riders per team.

          My guess is for the non-compulsory new events, Continental teams will be allowed to top up the field in place of the WT teams not attending.

      • Vitus Thursday, 4 August 2016, 4:06 pm

        Are you sure this decisions were made months ago? I’m not so sure about that.
        I know for instance in Frankfurt the organizers got a letter from UCI 2 weeks ago(!), though they didn’t request a WT promotion, where the UCI asked if they want to become a WT race. They said yes and got no official answer from UCI, only read in the newspaper about the new status.

        • The Inner Ring Thursday, 4 August 2016, 4:09 pm

          Interesting and amusing, other races have been an open secret for months.

    • Augie March Thursday, 4 August 2016, 4:45 pm

      The organisers of Ride London should do what a lot of other big one day races do: have the sportive the day before rather than a couple of hours before.

      • Dave Thursday, 4 August 2016, 4:57 pm

        Which would have the additional benefit of allowing the women’s race to be upgraded from a crit to a road race taking place on the same day and same course as the men. If they get the UCI to issue a derogation to the race distance rules, they could have the first race in the world to have both equal prizemoney and equal difficulty.

        The other option is to reduce the size of the mass event to a more manageable cap of about 10,000 riders which can be more comfortably handled on the same day as a pro race.

        • One Man Grupetto Thursday, 4 August 2016, 6:19 pm

          I think reducing the size of the sportive is the only do-able option. Even with a more intelligent system of road-closures, the disruption is significant – especially to the emergency services – and places like Kingston are turned into ghost-towns (shopping-wise) on the day of the sportive. It’d be a very tough sell to persuade people to a whole weekend.

          • Nick Friday, 5 August 2016, 12:15 am

            I’m not sure even of those specific examples is true – emergency services can get through and Kingston seemed extremely full – but the sportive would need to be rerouted or made smaller, as this is the 3rd successive year that there have been significant delays because of crashes on the narrow roads. Agree too that the locals would be unlikely to agree to 2 days of disruption.

          • Sam Friday, 5 August 2016, 11:41 am

            Agreed. Never going to get Surrey, SW and W London etc to shut down those roads both Sat and Sun. Reduce the entry awarded places to 10,000, have them all on the road by no later than 0730, and warn everyone in advance that the route will be cleared by a certain time – and if they havent finished, sorry but tough. There’s always the shorter, 49 mile option.

  • Dave Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:13 pm

    The overlapping of races is insane! Can you imagine Liverpool FC playing in two different matches on the same day

    The plan should be to cut the WorldTour back to 18-20 races (quality rather than quantity) so it only features:
    the 5 monuments
    the 3 grand tours
    up to 3 other races on each continent (either 2 tours, or 1 tour and 2 classics) with Europe allowed extras if there are other unused allocations.

    Teams would be allowed to skip a couple of races each year (either 2 tours, or 1 tour and 2 classics) but not any race in their home country and not the same race in consecutive years. No more than 4/16 teams would be allowed to opt out of any one race, with the teams drawing a random number for the order of race selection priority.

    The allocation for the ‘other’ race slots should be pretty stable for America (California, Quebec, Montreal) Oceania (TDU and Cadel plus another new classic, or TDU and HST) and Asia (Qatar, Abu Dhabi) but the European races may need to rotate between HC one year and WT the other.

    Under this plan, it would become possible for teams to complete a season with a total roster no larger than 2 to 2.5 times the size of a full monument/GT squad (i.e. 18-22 riders) rather than a 27-30 man roster as they have currently.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:30 pm

      It’s different to football, a cycling team can compete on different fronts, for example a classics team in Flanders and GC/climbers team in the Basque Country.

      Still you wonder if the old World Cup or something similar will be revived, a points system for only the best of the best races: grand tours, Monument classics, some of the best other stage races and one days etc

      • Dave Thursday, 4 August 2016, 3:59 pm

        The point is not actually about race squads, but about brand dilution. Better quality races will get better TV ratings and better ROI for sponsors, but flooding the market with poorly televised races will see them continue to get treated as filler material by broadcasters.

        Perhaps a better comparison would have been when, a couple of years ago, the Australian cricket team had a home Twenty20 International in Adelaide less than 48 hours after the end of an away Test Match against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. The guarantee that not even a single player from the ‘real’ national side would be playing had a huge effect on the ticket sales for the Adelaide T20I, even though under normal conditions a T20I side might only have an overlap of 2-4 players from the Test side playing.

        This stuff needs to be licensed out to a private sector commercial rights holder and not handled in house by the UCI where they act like unaccountable mid-level bureaucrats at a council, no doubt inspired by Brian Cookson’s previous career.

        • StevhanTI Thursday, 4 August 2016, 5:05 pm

          FYI the races themselves have (plenty) of sponsors too that are interested in local, regional and national exposure, it’s not only about the team-sponsors. This is a marked difference with about any other sport I think. Also I think broadening the field of top tier contests will eventually deepen the field of quality riders.

      • Nick Thursday, 4 August 2016, 5:19 pm

        A differential ranking system was floated recently wasn’t it? Different rankings for stage racers, sprinters, classics. The expanded WT could fit in with this; for instance, London clashes with San Sebastian and Poland, but would attract different types of riders, given their different parcours.

  • jonhard Thursday, 4 August 2016, 4:22 pm

    Actually, at this pre-season time you do see football clubs fielding two sides in friendlies that might be only a day apart, basically a development squad team or the full one depending on opposition. Perhaps more analogous, big teams often field youngsters in cup competitions.

    My reaction to WT expansion is: meh. The races involved don’t appear to me to merit “promotion”, but it doesn’t seem to mean much anyway.

    • Dave Thursday, 4 August 2016, 4:52 pm

      And everyone treats these pre-season scratch matches with all the respect they deserve.

      As I said, this is about brand dilution. Time to draw the line and say that there will only be one WorldTour race at a time, irrespective of whether teams have squads at other lower ranked races.

  • StevhanTI Thursday, 4 August 2016, 5:08 pm

    Could this expansion of the WT be a first step to smaller Pelotons? Teams wouldn’t have to ditch riders if they could field more riders at the same time in smaller peolotons of different races of (about) the same level.

  • Othersteve Thursday, 4 August 2016, 6:19 pm

    Tour de San Luis?

    Tis a shame South American has no WT stage race?

    • MultiplexRant Thursday, 4 August 2016, 9:36 pm

      I tend to agree; especially a shame that (from my superficial understanding) the domestic scene in Colombia is a bit shambolic, given that it’s one of the main cycling countries. Even a one day or three day job would be welcome, but there’s nothing preexisting to work with.

  • Pax Thursday, 4 August 2016, 6:24 pm

    This process just seems to make the UCI sound less adept.

    – As pointed out the number of Continental teams Pro Conti teams as some of the races is a crucial issue
    – Why does every race need to be a Pro race every year? no pun intended but couldn’t Abu Dhabi and Qatar – alternate? (I know there is a calendar/location issue)
    – Location : once you are on a continent with timezone changes – doesn’t it make sense to have a block of races – i.e. Cadel Evans really make sense… however flying to Canada for two one day races ?
    – Audience : if you want to build the sport up, wouldn’t you want to do it in a way that makes sense to the public? How are are they suppose to understand the relevance – do the points mean anything (No), can you watch the events in a consistent fashion (no), etc….. How do you spot favorite riders, how do you tell who are the riders from your Nationality ?
    – Power grap : was this jan attempt to keep ASO from getting more powerful (by promoting their lesser known events)? Was this meant to front run Velon,Bakala, Tinkoff, China, or maybe others from trying to organize events in to their own league in the coming years?

    It just seems that UCI run at the same professional level that other leagues are. The competition is ultimately other supports that are arguable more professionally managed – Premier League, Bundesliga, NFL, NBA, Collegefootball (ESPN), Tennis… etc.

    As fans as some point maybe we should demand more than a constant hodge podge of neutral management.

  • Michael B Thursday, 4 August 2016, 7:50 pm

    Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche are no-brainers. The field at Cadel Evans isn’t the best for a variety of reasons but I actually thought the course was interesting, with that huge kick a few KMs out from the finish. RideSurrey is a bit baffling, dull course but I presume the finishing spectacle (Pall Mall etc) is appealing globally. Personally speaking though I think a more interesting UK race would have been a one day Tour of Yorkshire with a real classics feel to it. That would’ve been spectacular but I feel the three day version dilutes that and doesn’t really appeal.

    • Gareth Thursday, 4 August 2016, 10:15 pm

      Agree 100% on the Tour De Yorkshire (and they should drop the Franglais while they’re at it). In each year they have had one stage of real interest and top class classic style racing, with two much duller stages. 3 days isn’t enough for a compelling stage race but Yorkshire could have an awesome 1 day classic. It would kind of work in the calendar as well coming at the end of the Ardennes classics.

      London Surrey as a race really doesn’t do it for me. The only reason can see for it going world tour is because UCI like the photogenic, world famous finish. Other than that you could find a more interesting parcours almost anywhere else in the UK.

      • Richard S Thursday, 4 August 2016, 11:42 pm

        Totally agree, Yorkshire is ideal for a really good, really tough one day race. They could tweak the route every year with different start/finish towns in a similar way to Lombardy. It seems that they want to sell it as a sort of mini Tour de France though, as if people can’t contemplate cycling without a yellow jersey and ‘King of the Mountains’.

      • Sam Friday, 5 August 2016, 11:44 am

        Its actually sponsors who like the photogenic finish. Also fantastic for the sponsors VIP and hospitality arrangements.

        • Michael B Friday, 5 August 2016, 11:46 am

          That makes sense, although it doesn’t do anything for me as a viewer. So much potential for a great one day race in the UK, but RideSurrey isn’t it.

  • Ecky Thump Thursday, 4 August 2016, 10:23 pm

    Interesting that there’s more races / race days added to the WT calendar when the current vogue for the top riders seems to be less is more!

    Perhaps, though, at a time when several high profile teams have folded, it can be a way of keeping people in a job. Which is never a bad thing.

  • george Thursday, 4 August 2016, 10:36 pm

    Some of these changes (Qatar, Strade Bianche) make sense, but I am baffled at how races like RideSurrey or Eschborn-Frankfurt are promoted to “the top tier of cycling” while more historic races like Kuurne Brussels Kuurne, Scheldeprijs, or Paris Tours (the latter two have 100+ year histories) are still somehow not on the WT.

    • MultiplexRant Thursday, 4 August 2016, 11:03 pm

      I imagine the UCI felt it was time for a WT level race in the UK, and the RideLondon jobbie is the only one that can fairly seamlessly move up a rank (I’m a big fan if the three day TDY – indeed, it’s much more interesting than London, as is ToB, but it’s not yet even .HC). It also doesn’t especially clash with other races.

  • johnny2names Thursday, 4 August 2016, 11:35 pm

    Thanks inner ring for another interesting and thought provoking article. I’ve tried to read the thread above but didn’t catch everything so apologies in advance for repetitions. I think some of those additions are a no brainer. Oomloop is always a great opener and fore taste of what’s to come, and Strade Bianchi has become a real tell of form ahead of the flanders classics. Did you see what it meant to Spartacus this year? others are less obvious. ToB would have been more logical choice than ride London for example, tour of turkey, great to expand interest but doesnt attract the field does it?

    On the whole though, I think it has been silly to have a system where top riders ride in races that give no world tour points. An analogy: do you see roger federer playing in Challengers ( below ATP for world 100-300 tennis players)? No, and yet those carry world ranking points ( but significantly less obviously).
    Well, most, maybe all top riders ride ( sometimes even contest) non world tour races. What’s a typical busy rider year? 75-80 days? I’m not saying these additions are perfect or that the system is now right, but I think it’s a decent step towards having a points system that actually reflects a riders contribution. The lesser world tour level ATP tennis competitions run 3, sometimes 4 tournaments simultaneously, and that seems to work well. Personally, I welcome a broadening of the World Tour, and would like to see a reduced requirement of attendance too for WT teams to make it more flexible.
    A great shame in cycling is not being able to have a grand slam year like tennis or golf- it’s not realistic to compete for top honours in all 3 grand tours, given timings. But any system that gives a truer reflection on performance would be welcome.

  • Dee Friday, 5 August 2016, 12:24 am

    No Tour de Trump?

    • Othersteve Friday, 5 August 2016, 1:22 am

      I think it declared bankruptcy years back!

    • TheDude Friday, 5 August 2016, 2:29 am

      Rumor with an election win the race will reincarnate: Tour de Douche

      • Vitus Friday, 5 August 2016, 9:31 pm

        Wait, isn’t the Presidential Tour of Turkey already on the list?

        • Dee Saturday, 6 August 2016, 1:24 pm

          The Precious Tour of Turkey

        • Ozgur Nevres Monday, 8 August 2016, 7:57 pm

          No, it was on the European calendar, 2hc.

  • GB Friday, 5 August 2016, 3:42 am

    I understand the comments about the calendar being confusing and events overlapping etc but its never been a big issue in my mind. Thing is, cycling is so hard for me to watch anyway (even when timezones fall in my favour) that I’ve grown quite accustomed to following events in a rather asynchronous manner. It’s not even that I’m settling; I honestly don’t find it a problem. After all, there are several other sports more popular in my country that are cheap(ish) and easy for me to watch and it’s not like those facts made them any more compelling to me.

    Again I understand the criticism and I’m probably not the demographic any theoretical organiser is going for (e.g. I frankly don’t care for cheering on riders by default just cos they came from the same landmass I live on) but I don’t think ‘too many events close together = no one new will start watching’ is a watertight assumption.

  • Travis Friday, 5 August 2016, 4:34 am

    I think the Cadel Evans race needs to 1) change the name to Great Ocean Road race. Cadel is great but why name the race after him? There are no other such world tour races.

    2) It should be paired with another race like the two in Canada. I would think something like Melbourne – Baw Baw or an Alpine loop close to the city, like Marysville – Donna Buang and even a Friday after work prologue.

    • Sam Friday, 5 August 2016, 11:46 am

      Because it was 1. honouring Evans who is a sporting hero in Austrialia, and 2. it made it easier to attract sponsors.

    • Vitus Friday, 5 August 2016, 9:33 pm

      I also think it’s bit pathetic. Sounds like he’s already dead since decades legend. Or a Trump kid.

  • J Evans Sunday, 7 August 2016, 2:34 pm

    The WorldTour was already fairly ludicrous; now they’ve added 7 sub-standard races (not OHN, S-B or DDV). How is that an improvement?
    And now the calendar is too full.
    As with the Armistead case, everything in cycling is farcical at best – and dirty at worst.

  • TourDeUtah Monday, 8 August 2016, 5:41 pm

    Quite the WT cluster fark post TdF with San Sebastian, Poland, and London the same weekend also competing with pre Vuelta warm ups like Burgos and Utah.

    What is the UCI trying to accomplish ? Killing off successful and financially stable races like Utah is not a solution. It only opens another can of worms they can wriggle through and mesh with while ASO continues to take over the sport.

  • CA Monday, 8 August 2016, 9:53 pm

    I don’t envy Brian Cookson or the UCI’s job here – of course the World Tour calendar will have massive mistakes and issues. There really is no perfect solution here.

    Good thing attendance at the new races will NOT be mandatory, that would’ve been a disaster.

    Still it is really strange that RideLondon is WT (I honestly thought this was a Gran Fondo before this year, haha) and races like Paris-Tours, Vuelta Andalucia, etc. are not.

  • CA Monday, 8 August 2016, 9:59 pm

    One more thing – Marc Madiot’s piece on Cyclingnews brought up some good points and I want to take it one step farther.

    In order to encourage anti-doping efforts, cycling has to do what it can to lessen the workload of its riders. One of the most obvious ways would be to lessen race days, and as Madiot stated, all the teams requested that most WT races do not require full participation of all the teams. This would a) prevent spreading thin resources even thinner and b) give teams a chance to throw in a handful of .hc, .1 and .2 regional races so they can placate their sponsorship’s region/target market.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 8 August 2016, 10:17 pm

      Fatigue and work can crack a rider over doping but let’s remember the 100m in athletics in doping has been riddled with doping, a ten second race and totally flat too. Money/incentives is the big determinant vs the detection rate.

    • gabriele Tuesday, 9 August 2016, 11:42 am

      I could even share some of Madiot’s points (partly, at least) – but I just can’t stand people using once more the doping argument – when it makes no sense – to defend their stance, whatever may that be.

      Hasn’t the guy seen enough of the damage created by this sort of specious and misleading use of an otherwise serious subject… as a pretext for more or less anything?

  • ArgyllFlyer Tuesday, 9 August 2016, 9:40 am

    These boards are full of knowledgeable posters but it seems when change is mooted, there’s a greater adherence to tradition than you’d find in the local Conservative Club.

    • J Evans Tuesday, 9 August 2016, 1:18 pm

      It depends if the change is positive. This clearly isn’t. Hence, the negative comments.
      Paris-Tours – a bona fide classic – is not on the list, but a race like RideLondon is.
      It should be about the parcours – and perhaps even some history.
      One would have to be utterly credulous to believe that there is any other reason behind that decision than P-T being an ASO race and the president of the UCI being British.
      These changes aren’t good for the sport: they’re based on money; masquerading as ‘globalisation’.
      I’ve read a lot of potential changes mooted on these pages – e.g. smaller teams, particularly in grand tours.