• The WorldTour peloton will feature reduced numbers from 2018. (Getty)Source: Getty
The size of teams taking part in cycling's three Grand Tours will be reduced from the current nine to eight, reducing the peloton size to a maximum of 176.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Reuters
23 Jun 2017 - 8:16 AM 

Teams will be reduced from nine riders to eight for next year's three Grand Tours while the 2018 Tour de France will start a week later to avoid clashing with the soccer World Cup.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) said in a statement on Thursday its Professional Cycling Council (PCC) applied the change which would come into effect in 2018.

In annual running order, the 'Grand Tours' consist of the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España.

How to watch the 2018 Tour de France on SBS
The 2018 Tour de France is here and SBS will bring you the racing, personalities, food, chateaux and colour of the event across all broadcast platforms.

The move to reduce the size of teams has been on the agenda for some time to make races less predictable and too easy for leading teams to control and also for safety reasons.

"The size of teams taking part in the three Grand Tours will be reduced from the current nine to eight, thereby reducing the peloton size to a maximum of 176 and assisting in efforts to ensure the safety of the peloton and the rest of the race convoy," a UCI statement said.

"It is intended that the maximum peloton size for other races in the UCI WorldTour and the UCI Continental Circuits will also be reduced to 176, with the regulations to put this into effect being submitted for approval in due course.

"These changes will be effective from the 2018 season."

Next year's Tour de France will start on July 7, meaning it will only overlap with the World Cup in Russia by a week.