The UCI is reportedly considering combining 20-25 of the top ‘cross events into one series as a way to revive a discipline that is waning, at least at the elite men’s level.
Attendance has been on the decline since the retirement of long-time star Sven Nys. Although Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert have dominated, they have yet to build the type of fan-base that Nys and his old rival Niels Albert accumulated.
The UCI Cyclo-cross Coordinator Peter Van Den Abeele blames the decline on excess of various classifications in Belgium. There are the World Cups, three of which took place in the country, then the classic Superprestige and DVV Verzekeringen Trofee series, and the newer Brico Cross and Soudal series.
“We have to be honest: in the current Belgian calendar, the fans can no longer see the forest for the trees. Which match belongs to which classification?,” Van Den Abeele told Het Laatste Nieuws.
The UCI Cyclo-cross Commission will meet during the World Championships in Valkenburg, the Netherlands, next month to discuss the concept, which could combine some of the World Cup, Superprestige and DVV races.
Van Den Abeele was cautious about confirming the change as imminent. “It is too early to make statements about this now,” he said. “But it is certain that the landscape will change. How drastic? Perhaps it is expedient to implement a thorough reform in one go, instead of spreading it out in a few years.”
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