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Cookson reveals cycling league plan
10:20am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Sport
EAST Lancashire cycling supremo Brian Cookson is set to introduce promotion and relegation to road racing as part of a new three-tier league system proposed by the sport’s world governing body the UCI.
Under proposals to be considered for approval in January, the current WorldTour would be scrapped in favour of a 16-team first division and eight-team second division, followed by regional divisions in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
The first division would race across 120 days and the second 50 days, with sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria to determine the teams’ divisions.
If approved, reforms would be introduced from 2015 and be fully in place by 2020.
The announcement of the reforms was buried in a ‘Sport and Technical’ newsletter published by the UCI.
Ribble Valley’s Cookson, the newly-elected UCI president, insisted a restructuring of the elite road calendar was fundamental to enhance cycling globally.
Cookson said: “My manifesto was not simply a declaration of intent, it was a genuine proposal for the future and a working document. My priorities have certainly not changed now that I have been elected.
“The UCI must take the necessary steps to restore its own credibility and that of cycling as a whole, in particular with regard to the public perception of anti-doping measures and the present-day leaders of the world of cycling.
“In order to restore confidence in the UCI and promote cycling all around the world, we have to transform the way in which anti-doping procedures are managed, restructure elite road cycling, develop women’s cycling and reinforce our position and influence, in particular within the Olympic Movement.
“These are immense tasks and work on them has started already.”
The announcement in the newsletter read: “The UCI management committee and the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) approved the reform of professional cycling in meetings held in Florence during the Road World Championships.
“This is a key transition point in what has been a lengthy, but calm and considered, process.
“The process should lead to a profound and decisive change in the organisation of professional cycling – the aspect of our sport that is the foundation for global development.”
Cookson was appointed president of the UCI last month having previously been president of British Cycling.
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