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“The AIGCP represents the teams in the reform, all stakeholders were consulted, AIGCP backed the Reform and Velon Teams back AIGCP."

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Photo: Velon

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VELON

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22.12.2015 @ 15:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Following yesterday’s call from the riders’ union CPA for the UCI to end the war with ASO, the Velon group has expressed its support of the international federation in the ongoing feud at the top level of professional cycling. The group which gathers 11 of the 18 WorldTour teams and works to create a more sustainable model for teams and make the sport more accessible, backs the reform of professional cycling which has prompted ASO to register their races on the Europe Tour calendar for 2017.

 

Last Friday Tour de France organizers ASO announced that they would register the Tour de France, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Fleche Wallonne, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphiné which are all part of the WorldTour calendar, as Hors Categorie races on the Europe Tour in 2017. Vuelta a Espana organizers Unipublic which is partly owned by ASO, followed suit and also stated their intention to have the Spanish grand tour take place outside the elite division.

 

The decision comes on the back of a long battle between ASO and the UCI which goes back to the introduction of the ProTour in 2005. The UCI plans to introduce a major reform of the WorldTour in 2017 which will allow more races to be added to the calendar and teams and races to get more stability due to three-year licenses.

 

The reform has been made after consultation with the main stakeholders, teams, riders and race organizers, but ASO refuses to accept the changes. Instead, the Tour organizers want fewer race days on the WorldTour calendar and more freedom to select teams based on sporting criteria.

 

Yesterday the riders’ union CPA urged the UCI to end the battle, issuing a release which seemed to partly back the stance of ASO. Today the Velon group expresses its full support of the reform. The group has not been directly involved in the negotiations as the teams have been represented by the AIGCP which includes all teams.

 

“The AIGCP represents the teams in the reform, all stakeholders were consulted, AIGCP backed the Reform and Velon Teams back AIGCP. As regards race classification, that's a decision for the race organiser and ultimately the UCI,” director Matt Skinner tells CyclingQuotes.com.

 

It has been no secret that ASO have been against the establishment of Velon which includes the WorldTour teams LottoNL-Jumbo, BMC, Cannondale, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Belisol, Etixx-QuickStep, Orica-GreenEdge, Giant-Alpecin, Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing. The group is trying to establish a more sustainable model for teams which could include sharing of television revenue. ASO strongly opposes that idea and has also voiced concerns about the introduction of appearance fees which could force races to pay teams for lining up their best riders.

 

With Velon backing the UCI, the scene is set for a possible battle between the French organizers and the group of teams. If the Tour de France is registered as a 2.HC race, UCI rules only allow ASO to invite up to 70% of their teams from the WorldTour. As they also plan to reduce the number of teams to 20, only 13 WorldTour teams will be allowed to do the biggest race in the world, meaning that five teams will miss out on an invitation. It seems likely that ASO prefers not to invite teams from the Velon group.

 

There is still time to find a solution as the deadline for registration for the 2017 WorldTour is January 15. However, if the parties fail to reach an agreement, it remains to be seen whether the Velon group will stay united and require the organizers to invite all 11 members of the group.

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