LONDON (AFP) — Tour of Britain organizers on Saturday slammed the UCI’s decision not to upgrade their event’s status for 2014.
The latest edition of the British tour, won last Sunday by Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, was widely regarded as a huge success, with more than a million spectators flocking to watch the eight days of racing.
It was hoped the third-tier (2.1 category) race would be promoted to 2.HC (hors categorie) status — the second division, behind the WorldTour.
But this week the UCI calendar for 2014 was published and the race remained at the 2.1 level, and organizers said they had not received any explanatory correspondence from the world governing body or British Cycling, which made the request for promotion on their behalf.
Some similar one-week races were promoted, and organizers SweetSpot and event director Mick Bennett were quick to express their frustration.
“SweetSpot Group, the organizers and promoters of The Tour of Britain, are disappointed to learn that Britain’s national tour has not been granted an upgrade to 2.HC status for 2014,” a statement read.
“Thus far an adequate explanation for the decision or clarification on the criteria for an upgrade to HC status has not been provided.
“SweetSpot firmly believe that after a decade of continued growth and development, and with global live television coverage for the past two years, The Tour of Britain deserves to be elevated to HC status for 2014.”
Organizers added that under 2.HC status the British tour “would be afforded more UCI points and an increased prize fund, while also allowing for a greater percentage of the field to be drawn from the UCI Pro Team division.”
British-registered teams and a Great Britain team would still be permitted to take part at 2.HC level.
The 2014 Tour of Britain is scheduled for September 7-14.