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ASO pulls Tour de France from UCI WorldTour

Organisation says WorldTour reforms constitute a ‘closed sport system’

Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has announced that it is to withdraw all of its races from the UCI WorldTour from 2017. As well as the Tour de France, the group also runs the Vuelta a Espana, Paris-Nice, the Critérium du Dauphiné, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Fleche Wallonne.

In a press release, ASO said it had registered its events on the UCI hors catégorie calendar for 2017, arguing that recent WorldTour reforms constitute a ‘closed sport system’.

“More than ever, ASO remains committed to the European model and cannot compromise the values it represents; an open system giving first priority to the sporting criterion.”

Earlier in the year, it was suggested that ASO might pull the Tour de France from the WorldTour due to a lack of progress in the UCI’s reform programme. The UCI management committee subsequently approved a number of changes for 2017 onwards. These were then rejected by the International Association of Cycling Race Organizers (AIOCC), of which ASO is a major part.

A major issue appears to be the decision to grant three-year WorldTour licences, rather than the one-year licences on offer up until 2016.

Hors catégorie events cannot feature more than 70 per cent of WorldTour teams, which means a maximum of 15 for a 22-team event such as the Tour de France. As the WorldTour comprises 18 teams, moving down to hors catégorie level would mean some missing out.

With ASO effectively able to pick and choose which teams enters the biggest event on the calendar, the WorldTour system which is based on the concept of having the top teams in the top races would be hugely undermined.

ASO and the UCI also came into conflict between 2005 and 2008 when the former refused to be part of what was then the UCI Pro-Tour.

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Guzzibear | 8 years ago

Politics in sport never ends well. I love watching the grand tours on tv at this rate they might not be televised on a terrestrial channel and that will give me more time for riding!

Gkam84 | 8 years ago

I hope they are pulling Fleche Wallone, La course and La Madrid from the women's tour aswell.

ASO are really the only people who can hold the UCI to ransom over shit changes they decide to force on everyone. So good to see them giving two fingers up and saying, we won't stand by while you ruin the sport, which the UCI seem intent on doing at the moment. Holding behind doors meeting and cutting certain people out of decision making, like riders/teams and their representatives.

Ghisallo | 8 years ago

I love the sport of cycling but the apparent pettiness and greed of the organizers behind the scenes is disappointing. I say "apparent" because we can't really know their motivations; ASO's (and UCI's) public declarations must be taken with a heaping dose of salt. Oh well, I guess we can say the constant power struggles over very small pies are part of the charm of the sport. Maybe.

Edgeley | 8 years ago
1 like

Commercial company ASO (which is bigger than the sport) feeling threatened by sport governing body not doing what it demands.

This won't end well...............ASO will win.

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