Cycling will undergo major changes starting with the 2015 season, according to leaked documents.

This morning, Italian website Ciclo Web published a PDF called La Réforme du Cyclisme Professionnel that cycling’s governing body reportedly produced with several stakeholders. It reveals plans for smaller teams and less racing in a calendar without the Tour of Britain.

The plan, according to the PDF, is to introduce changes starting with the 2015 season and continue rolling them out through 2020. The new WorldTour or top-tier calendar would shrink to 120 days and not see any overlapping events. This is currently the case in the WorldTour, which schedules Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico at the same time.

The new top- and second-tier system, which truly takes hold in 2017, lacks the Tour of Britain and US races. The Eneco Tour and the Tour of Poland drop to the second tier, where Germany’s Bayern Rundfahrt sits alongside events like the Tour of the Basque Country and Romandy.

The teams competing in the coming years will take a different, smaller shape. Instead of 18, 16 teams of 22 riders will race in the first division. The eight second division teams will feature 22 riders, as well, while the third division teams will be made up of eight to 10 riders.

Like in the current system, the first division teams must compete in all the top races, all 120 days that includes the three Grand Tours. They may compete in the lower-ranked races and as with today, the second division teams may race as wildcard in the top events.

To make sure there is no overlap in the schedule, the working group nixed some races and reduced the others. While the Grand Tours stay grand at three weeks, other stage races – Tirreno-Adriatico, Paris-Nice, Switzerland, Dauphiné – run over six days. Also, instead of January, racing begins in February with the five-day Tour Down Under.

The working group, of course, includes the governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). It worked together with major race organisers – ASO, RCS Sport and Flanders Classics – and teams’ and riders’ groups, the AIGCP and the CPA. And like any group, its options and plans may change before this leaked document becomes reality. However, the PDF gives an idea of where cycling is going in the next six years.

  • roginoz

    toB is getting samey but I hope it survives.tdu is not only samey as well but is always in the same restrictive area.Why..because it is heavily sponsored by South Australian Govt plus Santos and Jayco.

  • Stewart

    In these difficult financial times, not helped by Armstrong and other drug users trying to justify themselves with books and media apologies, it’s becoming so hard to hold onto and introduce new sponsors ! Without sponsors committing long term to teams what chance have young riders going to have to progress through the ranks to World Tour level and how difficult will it be to stay there? Just thinking back to the old Independent days when wages were so low that most had to do a full time job and race as well, could the cutting back on team structure set the clock back ? Also why does it matter if races overlap as teams can easily but out multiple squads to each event! With World Tour squads being 22 riders, doesn’t that make 1-9man team and 2-6men teams plus 1 reserve!!! So to my mind let events overlap! We don’t want to be in a situation were it’s exactly the riders each week, you need the makeup of fields to be fluid for effective competition and entertaining , exciting races!

  • Michael Hogan

    Mark, your right on so many levels. Especially about UK and US cycling.

  • Mark Jones

    Michael, you talk about professionals requesting less racing, which is good for those left with a team. However we are talking about 24 teams at the top two levels and contintental teams being restricted to 8-10 riders. These would see the end of racing careers for I guess somewhere 25-50% of all professional cyclists. This will not encourage development in smaller countries as there will be little chance for sponsors to develop teams up the divisions (even less than now!). The riders from World Tour teams will be accommodated in the top two divisions, but what about all the riders on Pro-Conti teams who will no longer exist if these teams are restricted to 8-10 riders. Not well thought through at all and this would kill off cycling in the UK and US, but I think that’s what the UCI is trying to do (look after the traditional cycling nations plus a few races in wealthy non-cycling nations. Please don’t let this happen Cookson!

  • Sam

    There’s no ToB on there as its a 2.1 right now. See any other 2.1 races on there? No.

    The calendar’s going to be flexible, I will put money on it. That calendar is not set in stone for every year to come. Races will get elevated – hopefully the ToB will – and get added, and some will disappear due to lack of funds. Unfortunately the recession in Europe, particularly in countries like Italy, Portugal and Spain, has led to races disappearing every year, or at best getting stages dropped to reduce costs – the Vuelta a Catalunya only got confirmed at the last minute this year, as did the Volta a Portagal.

  • Colnago dave

    Not impressed if this is what is happening under Cookson. How do you encourage Long Term sponsors for races when the UCI interferes without justification. Look at the races that have disappeared under the previous incumbents ” Globalisation”.

  • Michael Hogan

    Its true that the calender is too long. Many professionals have requested less racing. I think this would be a good this for better racing with many riders recovered. However, a calender without the Tour of Britain is typically short sighted. I am 46 and have seen this happen too many times from the bods on the continent. They forget that currently in Britain Cycling is thriving (with two Tour winners). This would be a big mistake and must not happen.

  • yen

    No Tour of Britain – seriously way off !