Cycling plans calendar overhaul to promote 'classic' races

The UCI wants to sell tv rights for races such as the Tour of Flanders collectively (AFP Photo/DAVID STOCKMAN) (BELGA/AFP/File)

Innsbruck (Austria) (AFP) - The International Cycling Union (UCI) wants to reschedule its calendar to put more emphasis on one-day 'classic' races and sell TV rights for them collectively, its president David Lappartient has announced.

Lappartient said he had met all the main race organisers, and they all agreed to the main thrust of his proposals.

"We want to focus on the classics," he said, speaking at the world championships in Innsbruck.

"The season would start with one-day races before moving on to one-week races until the Tour of Romandie (which takes place at the end of April).

"Then after the one-week races and the Grand Tours (we will) start having a one-day race every week as of the second half of August."

"We want to make it a global calendar and I won't count out having races in Asia or Latin America," he said.

Lappartient said the UCI would target 20 races but that could rise to 25.

He said some races could change format, such as the Tour of Abu Dhabi, currently a five-stage event in February.

"For example the Tour of Abu Dhabi would become a one-day race, a classic," he said.

"In principle everyone accepts the concept of selling television rights collectively", but he accepted that selling the rights wuld be "the difficult part".

Cycling has five "monument" races, so-called because of their history and prestige -- the Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Milan-Sanremo and the Tour of Lombardy, and the Tour of Flanders.