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Commentary: A First Step Toward Reducing Crashes

25. May 2015, Santa Rosa, California (USA) — Road Team

Crashes, like this one at Gent-Wevelgem, are taking their toll on WorldTour teams. ©Tim De Waele/TDWsport

STOP the music! The UCI WorldTour has become a "crash fest" in 2015.

It has become ridiculous watching all the carnage on the roads of the biggest competitions in our sport. The 17 top-level teams in professional cycling are required to meet a battery of requirements each year, as required by the UCI, in order to receive their license. One of these requirements is financial. Teams outside the WorldTour are not required to meet these rigorous financial obligations – and most do not even come close.

WorldTour teams like the BMC Racing Team not only have the required financial structure in place, but we also have the cycling industry as partners. These partners provide us with the best materials available and in a quantity necessary to meet a season-long commitment. We invest heavily in reconnaissance of the WorldTour race courses with our athletes, we make sure our equipment is constantly upgraded as needed and we hire the biggest stars in our sport. In the end, WorldTour teams are forced to race in events with 25 teams in one-day races and 22 teams in stage races. Other than WorldTour teams, can anyone tell me what the selection process is to participate in WorldTour events?

One step toward eliminating the chances of crashes and carnage is to reduce the size of the peloton. In this case, the UCI needs to reduce the number of teams in the races – and not the number of riders on the team at the starting line, which is something being proposed for future seasons.

There are many other reasons for the number of crashes we have seen this season. These reasons should also be addressed. But first, we should examine the quality of those teams invited to participate in WorldTour events. Selection should be based on quality and performance – not politics. This can go a long ways toward reducing the danger and damage to riders during a long and rigorous racing season. Rider safety should be priority No. 1 going forward.

- Jim Ochowicz

Jim Ochowicz is the president/general manager of the BMC Racing Team. He has organized and managed professional cycling teams since 1981 and was inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1997.

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