• Santos Tour Down Under director Mike Turtur. (Getty)Source: Getty
Former Oceania confederation president Mike Turtur has openly criticised the UCI, labelling its current management of the WorldTour “a joke”.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
9 Dec 2016 - 8:33 AM 

Turtur, who runs the first WorldTour race on the calendar, the Tour Down Under, has disagreed with reforms for the 2017 season, one which will see different participation rules across existing WorldTour events and those newly added to the rank. 

The regulation won’t directly affect Turtur’s operation that as an existing WorldTour event requires all first division teams to start. However, it will see the participation of top flight outfits at tours to join the WorldTour next year, like the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, as voluntary. 

“To have participation rules that are different from one set of events to another, and then have points not available in one event and another is just crazy,” Turtur said. “The way the WorldTour is structured at the moment is a bit of a joke. To have a WorldTour and then have two calendars in one really, to me, doesn’t make sense.

“I don’t know any other sport internationally that has a calendar that’s (compulsory and not compulsory). It’s crazy, bloody ridiculous.” 

Turtur directed responsibility at the UCI and its divisions, which he believes has mismanaged stakeholders in being both too reactive as well as non-inclusive.  

“They need to start to get the thing organised so we all understand what the hell is happening,” he said. “We’re all involved in the sport and we don’t know how to work it out, let alone the poor bastards outside the sport.” 

The Professional Cycling Council (PCC) in November confirmed its approval of the regulations that have also ushered change to the ranking system. Down Under has always been an important race for WorldTour teams in that regard as points accrued there traditionally determine standings at ensuing European contests.  

 “It’s impacting on the confusion because the UCI can’t make a bloody decision. It goes from one disaster to the next,” Turtur said. “They change their mind to suit the moment. The ASO put their two bobs through, then the teams association, it’s just one group after the other. 

“It’s a joke, the way it’s being managed.” 

Turtur said he hasn’t extended his opinion to the relevant authorities as he prepares for the next edition of the Tour Down Under that world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) headlines. 

“Obviously to have the rainbow jersey back in the race is always a good thing for any organisation, let alone our race,” he said. “Looking across all of the names [in the field], it’s clearly indicating the talent across the board is very strong and will make for a really interesting race. I’m more than happy with the start list.”