Sunday, October 6, 2013

2014 UCI U23 Calendar

I am mystified about the U23 Nations Cup calendar. This is supposed to show the best of the best, in terms of U23 racers, and give riders from smaller nations a chance to compete on a higher level. While you want these races to be the best of the best, did the person at the UCI who is in charge of the scheduling for the Nations Cup have a lobotomy? There are 5 races on the whole U23 Nations Cup calendar and a grand total of one outside of Europe. When these 5 races include three one day races within a week of each other and two stage races, only one of which features all of the best talent. The supposed point of this tiny calendar is to let riders race for their nation but in 1.2U and 2.2U events, the are national teams that take part. While some national teams are cash-strapped, why not disband the Nations Cup and then have a ranking for all x.xU races, where riders can participate as either part of a trade team or as a part of a national team and collect points to an overall classification. This would allow other races in the Americas, Africa and Asia to turn into x.xU races, which would allow for a greater cultivation of talent and grow the sport. This is a rudimentary plan, which is apart of a greater manifesto when I come to power, but I feel like junior and U23 development of both sexes is underfunded and could be done much better by the governing bodies in cycling.

Like always, there are some cock-ups with the scheduling. Paris-Roubaix Espoirs, a race coveted by Belgians and Americans mostly, is back on tap for this year but the French teams, who prize the Coupe de France overall ahead of one-day races, will still have to rush to the race as Boucles de la Marne, a Coupe de France race for Division 1 amateur teams, is the day before. There is also the some double scheduling problems. The ZLM Tour, a U23 Nations Cup race, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege U23 occur on the same day. I find this scheduling strange since the Nations Cup is supposed to be one of the biggest races of the season. On the stage race front, the Tour de Berlin and Course de la Paix (Peace Race) U23 run over the same weekend but this shouldn't be too bad as the Peace Race attracts the climbers and Berlin is a sprinter's paradise.

A big disappearance from the calendar is the Internationale Thürigen Rundfahrt, which featured as one of the biggest stage races on the U23 circuit.The state of Thüringia has shifted some of their policies and less money is being funneled into cycling. Thüringen Energie is looking more like it will cease to exist at year's end and the stage race, which is not listed on the current UCI calendar.

Additions to U23 calendar:
Paris-Roubaix Espoirs (6/1)
Tour des Pays de Savoie (6/19-22)
Volta a Portugal Futuro (7/17-20)

Wave Goodbye to:
Thüringen Rundfahrt
Paris-Tours Espoirs (most likely going amateur)

I created an iCal download, which lists all of the U23 races on the UCI calendar including continental championships. This doesn't account for other UCI races, namely 1.2 and 2.2 events, where continental and development teams will race because it would be a pointless exercise to list every race. If this is popular enough, I can do some other downloadable calendars closer to next year for other UCI races that these teams will target.

UCI 2014 U23 Calendar

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