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100 Professional Riders to Be Fired? Etixx-QuickStep Boss Seems to Think So

By Monica Buck

The organizers of most major races decided on Friday to cut the cycling team sizes in their races by one. That would result in 8 riders instead of 9 per team taking part in the grand tours, and 7 instead of 8 in the other races. ASO, RCS Sport and Flanders Classics, the organizations which took the decision, believe it will limit the Team Sky domination and make the peloton safer. But Patrick Lefevere, the Etixx-QuickStep boss, is categorically against it.

“Then why should we continue to have 30 riders per team in 2018? You can continue with five riders less per team. You’ll have 100 cyclists out on the street at the end of 2017, plus 25 caregivers because they will not be needed anymore. No one was consulted, teams or the riders’ union,” said Lefevere to Het Nieuwsblad.

According to the organizers, 176 riders instead of 198 will make the peloton safer during the Tour de France, but the Etixx-QuickStep boss is hardly convinced.

“They should start by looking up safer streets instead of using old cart roads. And not have a right-hand bends 50 metres before the line like in the Tour de Suisse. Or is that safe?”

Lefevere is not alone in opposing the rule, with Jim Ochowicz, BMC Racing manager, and Jonathan Vaughters, Cannondale manager, backing up the Etixx-QuickStep boss. The UCI, however, should have the last say in the matter.

October 16, 2016 - Doha, QATAR - Belgian Patrick Lefevere, General manager of team Etixx - Quick-Step pictured after the men's elite road race at the 2016 UCI World Road World Cycling Championships in Doha, Qatar, a race of 257.5 km from Doha to Doha, Sunday 16 October 2016. BELGA PHOTO YORICK JANSENS, Image: 302972462, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: * Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Netherlands Rights OUT *, Model Release: no, Credit line: Profimedia, Zuma Press - News
Patrick Lefevere, General manager of team Etixx – Quick-Step

“Any changes to the regulations governing men’s professional road cycling must be agreed by the Professional Cycling Council (PCC), on which the race organisers are fully represented,” a UCI statement read.

Would you support such a proposition? What do you think about it?