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The cycing website Cyclingnews has discovered that 13 of the biggest teams in professional cycling have got together to plan how to restructure the sport in order to boost revenue and income for the teams

WORLDTOUR

NEWS
26.01.2014 @ 13:16 Posted by Joseph Doherty

The cycling website Cyclingnews has discovered that 13 of the biggest teams in professional cycling have got together to plan how to restructure the sport in order to boost revenue and income for the teams.

 

The project has been kept a secret up until now and has been named “Project Avignon” after the teams initially got together there on the second rest day of this year’s Tour de France.

 

Several unnamed sources linked to the project have told Cyclingnews that there have been other meetings, including the day of the Tour de France presentation in October.

 

It appears that three working groups have been formed to look at the sporting, commercial and organizational aspects of the sport. Ethics, credibility and anti-doping are three key areas the project also looks at.

 

The thirteen teams believed to be involved are: Belkin, BMC, Cannondale, Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida, Lotto Belisol, Movistar, Omega Pharma- Quick Step, Orica-GreenEdge, Giant-Shimano, Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing.

 

This means the only WorldTour teams not participating as of yet are Ag2r-La Mondiale, Astana, FDJ.fr, Europcar and Katusha.

 

The teams involved are believed to be trying to work around ASO’s domination of the sport. Instead of demanding a slice of the TV revenue, Avignon’s goal is to make the cake bigger for all involved.

 

They want the restructuring to allow for new races and with that, more sources of revenue for teams and shareholders. 

 

Cyclingnews believes that the UCI are aware of the project.

 

The restructuring would result in the UCI having less control but they could potentially become a shareholder in the project, or see the UCI run World Championships given an elevated placing among the races in the new structure.

 

New UCI President Brian Cookson is already working with the teams to create a new, better-run structure that he hopes to implement in 2015. Cyclingnews believes members of Project Avignon met with the UCI in Geneva last Monday to discuss the WorldTour reforms.

 

There are still no exact details of how Project Avignon would change professinal cycling and any new structure does not seem to be possible until 2017 at the earliest due to many races having a WorldTour licence until 2016.

 

But that does not change the fact that Professional Cycling is changing as you read this. And this time, it is changing for the better.

 

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