International Cycling Union scraps plans for World Series Cycling

Last Updated: 06/02/13 6:30pm

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Pat McQuiad: Doesn't want cycling to be treated like Formula One

Pat McQuiad: Doesn't want cycling to be treated like Formula One

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The International Cycling Union (UCI) has scrapped plans for a radical overhaul of the sport that would have seen the season remodelled around 10 four-day "grands prix".

The World Series Cycling proposal was put forward by London-based sports promoters Gifted Group and had been backed by Omega Pharma - Quick-Step owner Zdenek Bakala and business partner Bessel Kok.

The UCI were also involved in discussions and the parties said in December that they would like to have the new format in place by 2014.

However, UCI president Pat McQuiad has now revealed that the idea has been shelved, with aspects of the proposal instead being incorporated into the existing UCI WorldTour season.

He told VeloNews: "The 10 four-day races won't happen, no. It won't happen. That's not cycling. Cycling is not Formula One, and a Formula One model will not work in cycling. It doesn't make sense.

"The sport of cycling needs to be professionalised. It needs to be much more professional.

'Not the way to do it'

"We are in competition with other sports for television airtime. We need to look at our professional sport today and modernise it, so to speak, without losing its traditional values.

"What has been proposed, about 10 four-day races, a bit like Formula One, is not the way to do it."

World Series Cycling would have seen the three grand tours and six of the one-day Classics merged with 10 four-day races made up of a sprint stage, a mountain stage, a rolling stage and a time trial.

The Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana would have remained focal points on the cycling calendar, as would Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Giro di Lombardia.

It was hoped that the format would have increased investment into cycling through broadcast deals and global expansion.

McQuaid revealed the "investors" behind the project will now plough their money into helping the UCI develop the sport instead.

Global expansion

He said: "The UCI has been in discussion with the investors, who were going to invest in the World Series of Cycling, and have now decided not to invest in the World Series of Cycling, and to work with the UCI to develop this project with the UCI. The UCI retains the majority on the board of the company that is going to do this."

McQuaid added that any reform of cycling must respect the heritage of the sport.

He said: "The UCI has always said that we want to globalise the WorldTour. But it should happen in a reasoned way, in a gradual way, without affecting the history or tradition of the sport, and also do so in a way that produces a better model of cycling for the new races that come on the calendar, without interfering with the existing grand tours and Classics.

"Let us find a new model for the new races, so that the teams can get a portion of the revenues, the organizers can get a portion of the revenues, the UCI can get a portion of the revenue, the sport benefits, the stakeholders, the riders all get revenues. And it's a model like that that we are looking at."

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