Friday, February 17, 2012

2012 UCI World Cycling Tour


Launched in 2011, the UCI World Cycling Tour(UWCT) is a series of events for amateurs. Through qualifier events around the world, riders can obtain a place to participate in the UWCT Final, with a world title for their respective age group as the ultimate goal. On the line: the chance to earn a coveted UCI rainbow jersey.

The first edition of the UCI World Cycling Tour had 7 qualifier events in 3 different continents. The final in Stavelot (Belgium) on the famous hills of Liège-Bastogne-Liège attracted around 800 riders from 32 different countries and 6 different continents, all of them competing for the world titles in their respective age categories. The United States grabbed the most medals, beating out The Netherlands and Belgium for this prestigious honor.

The UWCT will hold a maximum of 15 qualifier events, 13 of which are already confirmed: two legs in Australia and one in South Africa, Canada, France, Greece, Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Spain, Brazil and Italy (which did not have a qualifying event last year). The Final where the new World Champions will be crowned will be held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. As for the rest of the qualifier events, negotiations are currently ongoing with organizers in the UK, and Mexico.

Event details to come but it has been announced that the 2012 Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (VFGFAMO) is the UCI World Cycling Tour's only North American stop. Information at www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com. Note: only cyclists registered in the Granfondo category are eligible for the "road race" and qualification to the UCI World Cycling Tour's Final.

Rule changes: In 2011 riders who finished in the first 25% of their age category won a ticket to the UWCT final. This rule stays the same in 2012. In addition, riders who participate in 3 qualifier events during the season will also get their ticket to the final. They don’t have to finish in the 25% first in their age category. The world champions of Stavelot 2011 don’t have to qualify again. Both time trial and road race world champions get their direct ticket to the final of both disciplines. A road race world champion can also participate in the time trial final and vice versa. Silver and bronze medal winners will have to qualify again.

Photo: 2011 UWCT champions

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