UCI assigns hosting rights, launches new World Cup series

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has awarded hosting rights to a number of its events, as well as confirming the launch of a new World Cup series in 2018 and ratifying statutes that will reduce the size of pelotons at its road events.

The UCI made a host of decisions at its Management Committee meeting held on the sidelines of the Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway. In hosting news, Pruszkow in Poland will stage the 2019 Track World Championships having previously held the event in 2009.

The UCI has also claimed a first in assigning the rights for the 2018 and 2019 Para-cycling Track World Championships. Next year’s event will head to Rio de Janeiro, with the UCI stating it will become the first International Federation to organise a World Championships in the Brazilian capital following the 2016 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Apeldoorn in the Netherlands will play host in 2019 after previously staging the event in 2015.

The 2020 Cyclo-cross World Championships have been awarded to Dübendorf, the first edition of this discipline’s World Championships to be held in Switzerland since the Eschenbach edition in 1995. The 2019 Indoor Cycling World Championships will also head to Switzerland with Basel repeating its hosting rights of 2013.

The 2019 and 2020 Masters Track Cycling World Championships will return to Manchester, with the English city having also staged the event in 2015 and 2016. The Four-cross World Championships will remain in Val di Sole, Italy in 2018 having been staged there for the past three years.

The Management Committee also validated the launch of the Artistic Cycling World Cup in 2018. With the support of the Indoor Cycling World Wide Association, the series will contribute towards existing efforts to increase the number of nations participating in the discipline. It is anticipated that in its first season, the Artistic Cycling World Cup will comprise four rounds held in Prague (Czech Republic) in February, Heerlen (the Netherlands) in May or June, Hong Kong in August and Erlenbach (Germany) in November.

Finally, to improve the safety of the riders, spectators and the race convoy, the Management Committee has approved limiting the peloton size to a maximum of 176 riders in all events on the road calendar. Therefore, a maximum of seven riders will now be allowed per team in all men’s road races, with this rising to eight for the Grand Tour events of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana. In the Women’s WorldTour, there will be a maximum of six riders per team in one-day races and seven in stage-races.

Reducing the peloton has been a contentious issue in cycling over recent months. In June, the UCI acceded to requests to reduce the size of the pelotons at its Grand Tour road events. The actions of the UCI’s Professional Cycling Council (PCC) came after the governing body in November warned organisers of some of Europe’s top road races that they alone cannot shape rules for the events after it was announced that they would reduce team sizes from the 2017 season.

Following the general assembly of the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC), RCS Sport, which organises the Giro d’Italia; Flanders Classics, which stages the Flanders Classics and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which puts on the Tour de France, said they would reduce the number of riders per team at the start of their races in an effort to improve racing and safety.

The UCI responded by stating any changes to the regulations governing men's professional road cycling must be agreed by the PCC, on which the race organisers are fully represented.