UCI president David Lappartient has said he is in favour of introducing a salary cap in professional cycling to make the sport more competitive and prevent teams with the biggest budgets from dominating it.
Lappartient, who succeeded Brian Cookson as UCI president in September, told AFP that he envisaged a restriction on a team’s overall wage bill, rather than thee amount an individual could earn.
"We should be able to pay an athlete as much as we want, but if we pay a lot for one rider, we have a bit less money and that balances our strengths," he said.
"The aim is to have attractive races and not that a team has the best riders in the world and blocks the races.”
The latter is an obvious allusion to Team Sky, whose budget – £31.1 million (€35 million) in 2016 – is believed to far outstrip those of the next wealthiest teams, including BMC Racing and Astana and is double the €18 million that Lappartient says is the average budget of a WorldTour team.
That money has allowed Sky to attract and keep some of the best riders in the world and helped it dominate the Tour de France in recent years, winning five of the past six editions with its strength in depth often allowing it to control the race in the mountains.
Lappartient acknowledged it would be difficult to put a salary cap in place but he did welcome the introduction of smaller teams at races next year as something that would encourage competition.
Under measures voted through in September, teams at Grand Tours will have eight riders instead of nine and at other races there will be seven riders, not eight.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.