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Is Britain's national tour really not as good as Luxembourg's?...

Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot Group have expressed disappointment that the UCI has not upgraded the status of the British national tour for 2014.

The UCI classifies road stage races on a four-category scale from the lowest, 2.2, through 2.1, 2.HC and WT. As you move up the scale, organisers are obliged to provide greater prize money and the race and its stages attract more UCI points. All of that makes the event more attractive to top riders.

Next year’s race runs from September 7 to 14, and SweetSpot had requested the UCI increase its status from 2.1 to 2.HC, which would have given it equal status to the Tours of Turkey, Austria and Luxembourg.

In a statement, SweetSpot Group said:

SweetSpot have contacted both the UCI and British Cycling to request an explanation for the decision and would like to register their disappointment at the continued lack of communication from the UCI on the matter over the past 24-months.

Thus far an adequate explanation for the decision or clarification on the criteria for an upgrade to HC status has not been provided.

SweetSpot firmly believe that after a decade of continued growth and development, and with global live television coverage for the past two years, The Tour of Britain deserves to be elevated to HC status for 2014.

Under 2.HC status The Tour of Britain would be afforded more UCI points and an increased prize fund, while also allowing for a greater percentage of the field to be drawn from the UCI Pro Team division.

Domestic UCI Continental teams registered in the UK and a Great Britain national team would still be allowed to participate in the race with HC status as per UCI regulation 2.1.005.

The Tour of Britain is currently ranked at the 2.1 level by the UCI, the third tier of ranking for stage races. The current 2014 UCI Europe Tour calendar lists thirteen 2.HC events between March and August, including the Tours of Turkey, Belgium and Denmark, with the Tour of Norway joining the list of HC events for 2014.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

11 comments

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badback [302 posts] 3 years ago
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It wasn't decided last week was it ? Maybe it's Pat McQuaid's parting shot  20

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Gkam84 [9098 posts] 3 years ago
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I can give them answers....Its pretty simple.

The route needs changed, the dates need change to not over lap La Vuelta, ALL the roads need resurfaced and the weather needs to be better.....

First two are realistic  3

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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The Tour of Turkey does not deserve any place in world cycling. Period.

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Metjas [362 posts] 3 years ago
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Brian, sort this out will you.

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freespirit1 [249 posts] 3 years ago
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Perhaps the UCI have the hump because of Team GB's success in the last few years.

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freespirit1 [249 posts] 3 years ago
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Plus they have been too busy protecting doped up cheats!

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Simon E [2934 posts] 3 years ago
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I wonder what the teams think of the status of the ToB vs Turkey et al. Do they feel the same way as SweetSpot?

Clashing with the Vuelta might not be so bad. There are plenty of top riders (mostly non-climbers) who prefer not to ride the Spanish race.

One possible downside of the change to 2.HC would be the marginalisation of domestic teams. If more WT teams take part then it may be a real struggle for Rapha-Condor, Node4 etc to even get some airtime.

Perhaps the UCI feel that there are more than enough 2.HC races in existence? Some clarity would be nice, but that's a very rare thing in Aigle.

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Gkam84 [9098 posts] 3 years ago
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The problem really comes, the European tour is so jam packed, by the end of the season, team's are looking towards 2014 and aren't so worried about September/October, unless they are desperate to score some points

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_UCI_Europe_Tour

To me, alot of the small diddy races should be taken out of the European tour and put into a category for Conti teams only.

Have two different levels and lets not mix them to much, apart from the Grand tours and then maybe two team invites to each WT race, as long as they come from that country

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Al__S [1117 posts] 3 years ago
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The big teams entering the 2.1 races brings TV Cameras on helicopters, which brings sponsorship exposure for the smaller teams, and sponsorship to actually even be able to have a stage race.

The crit racing that makes up the bulk of the pro racing for the domestic Continental teams is cheap to stage and cheap to film - especially with it being highlights, not live, as this means moto cameras only have to be able to record.

One day and stage racing is expensive and tricky. It needs big names to bring TV audiences.

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Gkam84 [9098 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm going to equite this to football terms, because that's how I can make sense of it.

Sportives - Sunday League
Local Cat 2/3/4 races - Non League
Crits - 3rd Division
National race series - 2nd Division
European tour - Championship
World tour - Premier league

How often to the teams from different leagues play each other? Only in the 2/3 cup's each season (Giro, TdF and Vuelta)

There needs to be some interaction, but too much just spoils the racing for the lower league teams.

Plus, you've got to remember, the UCI are more focused and getting a decent woman's calendar set up, which I think is a better idea than worrying about what IS a small race in the grand scheme of things

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ch [188 posts] 3 years ago
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Good idea Gkam84, yes I would like to see more womens races. Cycling can be a cut above other sports and show what can be done.