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UCI announces safety changes ahead of Tour de France start

Published June 28, 2017

AIGLE, Switzerland (BRAIN) — Ahead of this weekend's Grand Départ in Düsseldorf, Germany, the International Cycling Union has announced several safety changes, some of which will take effect this year and some next year. 

Brian Cookson, the president of the UCI, said, "For any international federation, athlete safety is a priority ... The safety of riders, and all participants in a race, is an ongoing commitment, but I welcome the progress made in recent months and the sense of responsibility shared by our federation and relevant parties."

The changes include:

  • Smaller teams in the Grand Tours starting in 2018. This change, announced June 22 following a Professional Cycling Council meeting, will reduce teams from 9 to 8 riders at the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España. This will reduce the peloton size to a maximum of 176 riders. The UCI is considering making the same change to other WorldTour events and Continental Circuit events. 
  • A new section on risk prevention has been added to the UCI WorldTour - Specifications for Organisers document. Among other changes, the risk prevention rules require organizers to assess the risks in the final three kilometers of a course and to provide teams with a video recording of this section, identifying potential dangers, before the event. The changes were recommended by the association of professional cyclists.
  • Three UCI Technical Advisers have been in attendance at all UCI WorldTour races this year to assess how well the races are organized and to provide solutions to event safety issues. The advisers are former riders Robbie Hunter and Thomas Rohregger and ex-rider and former Tour de France race director Jean-François Pescheux.
  • The UCI announced new guidelines for vehicle circulation within the race convoy, and since the guidelines' introduction, several drivers have been suspended. More than 350 drivers have received training in the new guidelines at 11 sessions across nine countries this year.
  • The PCC is continuing to test a revised protocol for the calculation of time gaps at the finish of stages. The change was tested at this month's Tour de Suisse and will be used at the Tour de France on stages that are expected to have bunch sprint finishes. The revised protocol changes the time gap for a split from one to three seconds. The UCI said the changes "retains the integrity of the sprint and the stage" while reducing danger as GC contenders don't need to worry as much about losing time in the sprint.  
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