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Cookson also hints at shortening of Vuelta a España and reduction of team sizes.

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21.03.2016 @ 08:22 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Despite ASO’s refusals to accept alterations to the WorldTour and the Tour de France organisers’ threats to register their races on the lower Europe Tour calendar UCI president Brian Cookson says he is confident of finding common ground.

 

ASO has thus far rejected the reforms to the WorldTour which will be implemented in January 2017, claiming the changes compromise the traditional European model based on an open system with priority given to sporting ability. The WorldTour reforms seek to provide teams and organisers with a three-year licence with the possible introduction of other new rules such as allowing appearance fees.

 

In an interview with Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport Cookson revealed that covert talks with senior management at ASO are taking place, but also seemed to accept that ASO's races could leave the WorldTour.

 

“Everything is possible. There are at least 20 other races that are knocking on the door of the WorldTour, with great potential for growth,” Cookson told the Italian newspaper.

 

“I think it would perhaps be an error. I'm talking with the managers at ASO. I prefer not go into detail about them but I'm hopeful. I think we'll find a solution in the end.”

 

During the interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Cookson revealed that he believes the reforms of the WorldTour and the growth of other races could perhaps eventually lead to the Vuelta a España being reduced to just two weeks. He sees it as part of a 'natural evolution' of cycling.

 

“I personally believe that the Tour and the Giro should remain three weeks, but it wouldn't surprise me to see a two-week Vuelta,” Cookson said.

 

Furthermore, Cookson revealed that he favors reducing the size of the peloton, and thereby, hopefully, the number of crashes, by having eight-rider teams in the Grand Tours but is happy to leave any decision to race organisers.

 

“I am favourable in decreasing the total number of race starters, but I think it should be the organisers and teams to determine what is best,” he said.

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