The framework of the new UCI Classics Series – the new men’s WorldTour one-day races set to be introduced in 2020 – emerged during the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, with the changes likely to shake-up the men’s WorldTour and divide the WorldTour calendar into Grand Tours and short stage races and the one-day Classics.
While commercial and technical details have still to be thrashed out with the race organisers, teams and riders, the UCI hopes the creation of a season-long Classics series can make the sport more global, more seasonal and ultimately attract more revenue that will be shared between the race organisers, the teams and the riders.
The 20-25 race UCI Classics Series could eventually develop into a Formula 1-type series, with the best one-day riders competing in all the weekend races and targeting overall victory in the series. They would perhaps still ride the Grand Tours but could reduce the number of stage races they ride per season in order to focus more on the UCI Classics Series.
UCI President David Lappartient has been cautious about making major proclamations about the format for the UCI Classics Series because he has yet to fully convince the major race organisers and the leading teams to work together on the plans. As part of the wider WorldTour reforms agreement, all the stakeholders have to agree for the project to move forward. If one refuses, the UCI Classics Series will not happen.
“We can perhaps compare it to being at the foot of L’Alpe d’Huez,” Lappartient said in Innsbruck, perhaps knowing he has a mountain to climb to stop race organisers and teams fighting over revenue and control of the new-look race series, where television rights and other income will be pooled and any profits shared.
“We’ve never agreed on a series like this before,” Lappartient said. “Everyone of the stakeholders agreed in principal with this new idea, now the second stage is to enter discussions on commercial rights. I think we have to build a system and deliver what is best for cycling and for the market, then we can discuss how to share and how the sport benefits from this.”
20-25 races in spring and late summer
The UCI Classics Series would shake up the current cycling calendar, with between 20 and 25 one-day races held on weekends from January/February to April and from mid-August to the end of the season.
Create new revenue growth for all
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