A few days after reporting that the UCI spent last week threatening to expel the national federations of Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg and Austria from future events (e.g., World Championships), word is coming in from all sides that cooler heads have prevailed. There seems to be progress on an as-yet ill-defined second calendar of races consisting of the ASO, Unipublic and RCS races, a/k/a the Tour, Giro, Vuelta, four Monuments, and several other glitter events. While the Pro Tour would soldier on gamely (ahem) as the globalization arm of the sport, this separate series would run parallel and feature the more traditional thrust of Cycling. A few points:
- I have to profess some confusion... how is this progress? I'd thought this was the plan that had been settled on last fall. Honestly, I like to be able to explain these situations, but I'm a bit at a loss here. Seems like the story is, something changed, but now it's changing back. Or not?
- The national federations became involved somehow because they're the institutions which make up the UCI, and they sanction races on their soil. When the bickering started, the national federations floated an idea of running the races without UCI approval - the full middle finger - which the UCI responded by threatening to bar pro tour teams, along with other retributions. Same basic argument as with Paris-Nice last winter.
- Now, the grand tours (etc.) are back to being fully sanctioned UCI races, and don't have to accept Pro Tour teams if they don't want to. With one small exception: the Tour de France, which under the deal would be required to admit all 18 Pro Tour squads. And ASO have already signaled some concern [h/t Lucybears] though not with an official answer. So we'll see if it's back to the drawing board.
If this sounds like the least coherent post you've ever read here, don't worry, it's not a problem with your computer. Anyway, stay tuned, and feel free to fill in some blanks.