• The peloton at the 2016 Vuelta a España. (Getty)Source: Getty
The UCI is at loggerheads with the big events over a mooted change to team rider numbers in major events.
Cycling Central
28 Nov 2016 - 10:17 AM  UPDATED 28 Nov 2016 - 11:16 AM

Major organisations like ASO, which owns the Tour de France, combined last week with the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) to unilaterally force teams to field fewer riders in races they control.

The group agreed to reduce the number of riders per team from nine to eight in the three Grand Tours (Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España) and from eight to seven at other events, like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Team rider numbers to be reduced for major races
In a surprise announcement the big players in professional cycling have agreed to a long argued for change to team rider numbers in races.

"Following recent statements, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) wishes to clarify the current position regarding team sizes," the organisation said in a statement on its website. 

"Whilst a potential reduction in team sizes may reflect a view held by some stakeholders, including some race organisers, any changes to the regulations governing men's professional road cycling must be agreed by the Professional Cycling Council, on which the race organisers are fully represented."

"This subject was discussed at the last PCC meeting in November 2016, and it was agreed to consider in detail the implications of such reduction over the coming months, with no change for 2017."

So another political battle has begun and the sport is again at war with itself. With the UCI demanding it control the pace of reform, while the events who chance their resources in a sport struggling with financial sustainability try to assert their power. 

Stuck in the middle are the teams, who continue to struggle financially, and riders with unstable employment prospects.