On the surface it appears that the World Cup competition will be eliminated. No more World Cup Jersey for the classics riders?
And although the stated intention is to curtail specialization and encourage season long participation, the teams are allowed to select the riders they send to the events, so they can send a team of stagaires to a race if they want. If the UCI succeeds in this, it will eliminate the "injustice" of undeserving French teams being selected for the Tour while more deserving teams are left sitting at home. And it will make the Giro and Vuelta more international, which would encourage larger, more international sponsors to participate in the sport.
The market will decide. If people start to support the World Tour series by watching the events, either on tv or at the races, then it will be accepted because the sponsors will be behind it. tv numbers and sponsorship numbers ultimately will tell whether it works.
I think it could be a good stimulus for the entire season of cycling, and could benefit the race promoters, sponsors, and fans. Individual riders and teams may not like it, and in the US, where in spite of the fact that the Cycling season is opening right now, people are still only talking about TDF riders, it will probably be ignored.
Right now all the riders in Europe are using the minor events to que up their fitness for the big events. Cycling is in a pre-season period now like we have in this country with football and baseball. Here on this forum, nobody seems the slightest bit interested in analyzing or talking about the results. Noone has even mentioned Tom Boonen's sprint victory over McEwen yesterday, in spite of the implications it has for the early spring classics, which we know Boonen will be targeting.
Kudos to brent_dube for his insight on OLN's expanded coverage of the early tours and classics and his contribution of this article.
Last edited by don d.; 02-04-04 at 10:48 AM.