UCI President David Lappartient appears to agree with the proposals of the One Cycling reform project that could see Paris-Roubaix and other races moved to October as part of a major shake-up on the WorldTour calendar.
Lappartient revealed his thoughts on the calendar shake-up in an interview with the French DirectVelo website, combining his desire to create new revenue for the sport with his drive to reduce the environmental impact of the sport due to constant travel between different countries.
Lappartient appears keen to maintain the UCI’s central role and control of the sport, especially after reports of a possible Super League of teams and races, with funding perhaps from the Saudi Arabian PIF sovereign wealth fund or other investors.
“I see it as an extension of the discussions we are having with the teams and the organisers. We are not in the logic of the football Super League which wanted to challenge the Champions League,” Lappartient insisted to DirectVelo, making an analogy with European football’s short-lived power struggle.
“Teams want to be more of an economic player and to draw more dividends from their investment. Which does not seem to be illogical. Furthermore, there are elements that we discussed with them which do not seem incompatible with the UCI.”
Lappartient is also concerned about a small number of super teams like UAE Team Emirates, Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers dominating the sport. His reforms could also include some kind of salary cap to limit the strength of teams and create a more level playing field.
“There was talk of a merger of the second and third-best teams this year. There are five teams which dominate the WorldTour and so we have a second peloton which follows behind them. If the first peloton focuses on itself, we risk having an absolutely enormous difference,” Lappartient warned.
Lappartient and the UCI have greater sway over race organisers and hope to start to generate more revenue for all the stakeholders by creating a more modern, logical and slim-lined race calendar.
The three Grand Tours will not be affected but Paris-Roubaix and other Classics, plus shorter WorldTour stage races could be involved, with any changes beginning in 2026 when a new round of race and team WorldTour licences are awarded.
“We were forced to organise the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in October during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020). The audiences were fantastic. I’m not saying we necessarily have to do it again, but it’s not…