Eight-rider teams for Grand Tours from 2017

Organisers ASO, RCS Sport and Flanders Classics agree to reduce team sizes

Teams in next year’s Grand Tours will feature a maximum eight riders rather than nine, in a bid to improve rider safety on the road.

Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana organisers ASO and Giro d’Italia organisers RCS Sport, alongside Flanders Classics, agreed to reduce team sizes in races from next season at their annual meeting.

Peloton sizes will be reduced in 2017, after race organisers ASO, RCS Sport and Flanders Classics agreed to reduce the number of riders per team in their racesĀ (Pic: ASO)

Alongside eight-rider teams for the Grand Tours, races which previously featured team sizes of up to eight riders – including Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders – will now have a maximum team size of seven riders.

And, in addition to improving rider safety on the road, the race organisers hope the move will – as a ‘fortunate consequence’ – promote more attacking racing by making it harder for teams to dominate races.

A short statement announcing the decision read: “Following the General Assembly of the International Association of Cycling Race Organizers (AIOCC), RCS Sport, Flanders Classics and A.S.O have taken the decision to reduce the number of riders per team at the start of their races.

“The number of riders per team will thus decrease from nine to eight on the Grand Tours and from eight to seven on the other events.

“This decision responds to two-pronged objective: the first being to improve the safety conditions for the riders with a smaller peloton on roads equipped with more and more street furniture.

“The second, which is a fortunate consequence of the first, is to make it more difficult to dominate a race as well as enhance conditions for events to offer better racing for cycling fans.

“This decision will go into effect for the 2017 season; the number of teams [in each race] will obviously remain the same.”

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