• UCI President Brian Cookson at the headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The UCI has announced reforms including streamlining the calendar and granting licences based on criteria such as ethics, finances and competitiveness.

23 Sep 2015 - 3:40 PM 

The UCI announced a series of reforms on Tuesday aimed at streamlining the calendar and providing the top level of men's professional cycling with a more stable operating environment.

While full details of the reforms were not disclosed, the sport's global governing body did confirm that there will be a maximum of 18 WorldTour teams from 2017-19.

Three-year licenses will be granted on criteria that includes ethics, finances and competitiveness.

A limited number of new races will be added to the schedule, and new and existing races will be subjected to a strict set of standards to ensure the highest level of competition.

Teams will also be required to follow rules on how they manage riders and staff.

"These are important changes that will help to further enhance men's professional road cycling and aide its global growth and development," UCI president Brian Cookson said.

"I believe that these measures will help to bring greater stability and growth to men's professional road cycling."

The reforms follow a long, often acrimonious series of negotiations with major teams and race organisers over the future of the sport. But missing were several contentious ideas, including the shortening of major stage races and the implementation of a relegation system.

The reforms were announced after a meeting of the Professional Cycling Council and their approval by the UCI's management committee during this week's world championships.

The three-year license structure is designed to encourage sponsors to invest in the sport by ensuring teams are more stable, while the additional races and streamlined schedule could help to showcase the sport to more fans in a way that is easier for them to follow.

Meanwhile, teams must ensure that riders are properly supported and supervised, which includes strict anti-doping controls. This measure is being implemented after a series of doping cases on the Astana squad called into question how much self-policing there was among teams.

"Already trialled in 2014, further testing of the system is taking place this season and next in advance of its mandatory application as a licence condition," the UCI said in its statement of the changes.

"This knowledge and experience will be used also for implementation of an appropriate set of organisational criteria for teams in the next tier below UCI WorldTeams in 2018."

There were also changes announced to the world rankings system including the addition of top climber, top sprinter, top one-day rider and top stage racer categories which the UCI said would increase fan and media engagement.