19 Dec 2015

Tour de France pulled from UCI calendar

12:18 pm on 19 December 2015

Tour de France organisers are withdrawing their races from the International Cycling Union calendar because of a disagreement over its reform and team selections.

Peloton, Tour de France, 2015.

Peloton, Tour de France, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Amaury Sport Organisation said the reform of the UCI's World Tour means the 2017 season would be a closed circuit whereas it wants a system based on 'sporting criteria', meaning no team can be guaranteed a spot on the Tour de France and other top events.

The reform of the calendar, approved by the UCI, said teams would be handed three-year World Tour licences - rather than the one-year licences until 2016.

"Amaury Sport Organisation has informed this day Union Cycliste Internationale it has opted for the registration of its events on the Hors Classe calendar for season 2017," ASO said.

"The UCI has actually recently adopted, from season 2017, a Reform of the World Tour calendar characterised by a closed sport system.

"More than ever, ASO remains committed to the European model and cannot compromise the values it represents: an open system giving first priority to the sporting criterion."

Organisers cannot select more than 70 per cent of World Tour teams in a 'Hors Class' race, or 15 teams in the usual 22-team lineup for the Tour de France, the most prestigious cycling race in the sport.

It means World Tour teams will be omitted from the 2017 Tour lineup as the elite usually features 18 teams.

There is no risk of the Tour and the ASO's other major races not taking place but they will do so outside the umbrella of cycling's main calendar, which could lead to a potentially damaging split.

- Reuters