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Tour de France could be withdrawn from 2016 UCI calendar

Tour owners threaten to pull race from UCI control if speed of reforms does not improve

The Tour de France could be pulled from the UCI’s racing calendar over fears about the governing body’s progress towards reforms, according to reports.

The owner of the Tour, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), is said to be worried about the status of the race after 2016 - meaning it could take place outside of UCI control, according to the BBC.

A source close to the UCI management committee also told Reuters that ASO sent a letter to the UCI saying it would withdraw from the 2016 calendar if the reform does not go forward

The reforms underway include fewer teams in the top flight, an effort to avoid race clashes and a big race every weekend - all matters which the UCI say are in hand.

"There is a general consensus on the direction towards which the reform should be driven," said a UCI statement.

"We are hopeful of finalising soon our discussions with all stakeholders, whether races organisers, teams, riders, around a project that will restore the credibility in our sport.

"We want to promote the sport in both existing and new markets, make the cycling season understood and attractive to fans and recognise the UCI WorldTour as part of a larger and interdependent system."

The BBC’s Matt Slater commented: “The UCI wants cycling's season-long narrative to look more like F1: a series of big races, spaced out over a year, with no overlaps, everybody there and a clear winner at the end.”

ASO owns the Tour de France as well as Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

As far back as 2012 we reported how the UCI was involved in plans to shake up the road cycling calendar as part of a wider reform of the sport through a proposed ‘Champions League’.

Plans were outlined, to include a new series of races, the sharing of TV revenue, greater transparency in the fight against doping and an overhaul of the points and ranking systems.

It was said that any changes “would be phased in over a period of several years, so it is not a replacement of an old system by something new, it is an integration of existing races into a new format.”

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