The road cycling program needs to be thoroughly overhauled, according to UCI president David Lappartient, as reported by Het Nieuwsblad, especially with regard to the low number of WorldTour-level races in February at the start of the season.

Lappartient speaks of an “evolution, not a revolution” in the WorldTour calendar from 2026. “We want as few overlaps as possible. The UAE Tour takes place today at the same time as the Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Both competitions belong to the UCI World Tour. We want to avoid that as much as possible. I compare it to women’s cycling.”

“In women’s cycling we start from scratch. That’s much more difficult with the men, who have 130 years of history. The Tour de France will always be raced in July. Just like the classics will of course be raced in spring or autumn. Or that the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix will always be raced close to each other, simply because it’s better for the riders. You have to respect that.”

Lappartient wants more WorldTour races in February. “Currently we only have the UAE Tour and Omloop het Nieuwsblad as WorldTour races in February. Why not plan more races in that month? Then I think about parts of the world where we are currently not strong. Today we don’t have WorldTour races in South America or Africa. Although there are possibilities there. Also in Africa, yes. Who knows what the World Cup in Rwanda will bring next year.”

The president of the International Cycling Union had confirmed in November 2023 that he agreed with the proposals of the One Cycling reform project that would bring international cycling a major reorganization of the WorldTour calendar.

One of the main changes would be to hold Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders in the month of October, as was done in 2021. “The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to reorganize the calendar. The audiences were fantastic,” he commented in statements at the time to French media outlet DirectVelo.

These possible date changes would not take place before 2026 and would affect, only, the one-week races and the classics. “We have to organize the WorldTour calendar in such a way that we reduce our emissions and do not move from one part of the planet to another every month,” Lappartient added. The dates of cycling events would follow a natural flow to avoid unnecessary travel.

The UCI has a clear objective: to reduce the emissions and carbon footprint of cycling teams and events by 50% by 2030. To achieve this, Lappartient is committed to the use of electric vehicles, be they team cars and buses, and also to avoid long journeys. “Instead of going five or six times a year to a country, it’s better to pick up the races over a period of time. The Classics weeks are great. Riders are three weeks in Flanders and don’t move. It’s good for everyone,” the UCI president suggested.

Source: y Diario AS