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General News Thread

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And in 2018, Ster didn't run, and Quick Step skipped the Tour of Belgium. It's true Ster returned this year (we should have mentioned that in the California thread), though Belgium had to move in the calendar to safeguard that participation, and Ster had to move to a different part of the Netherlands that took away the at least potentially interesting stages they had around Limburg and Verviers. That's with two Hammer Series events (there were three in 2018, but Hong Kong was very remote from the rest of the calendar in mid-October; Stavanger and Limburg are the two that are mid-season so to speak), and actively trying to place them in an amenable calendar spot to minimise disruption so that they can establish themselves in a spot to the level where they can't be removed like a cyst. They wanted ten. If they were all peripheral like Hong Kong, and they got to be like the post-Tour crits but actually competitive, and everybody could have their end-of-season fun with some short, sharp race days, like the Race of Champions or the Moscow stadium biathlon or the Pro Bowl, then that would be one thing, but trying to find space for ten of these mid-season?

It's just another marketing ploy designed by lobbyists to push to marketing execs to try to create some more justification for Vaughters' franchise plans to shut the door behind himself because he's scared that others might squeeze him out by growing their teams in exactly the same way he's done (notwithstanding the UCI really doesn't need any help in killing ProContinental, it's doing a fine enough job of that on its own). The branding would be cringe-making enough in its own right, without that branding being used to promote something that tries to break down something that, at its heart and core, is an endurance sport, into bite-sized chunks because older generations have got it into their head that the current generation - despite being the generation of binge-watching - is too stupid to be drawn into something without alarms blaring and action sequences every ten minutes. It's Jonathan Vaughters indulging his Bernie Ecclestone fantasies, and it's Michael Bay cycling.
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Vuelta a Valencia disappeared from the calendar back around the time of the world wide economic disaster. It recently returned with new organizers. The Vuelta a Murcia was reduced from a week long stage race to a 1 day event to hope to continue due to that same economic disaster. They are just now trying to add stages back to it. Races disappear for many reasons.
Actually that are very rare cases, the crisis between last and this decade has literally decimated the medium/minor races in Spain, and it's not an isolate case, if you look at the 2000 calendar comparing it with recent ones there are many, many, many races that have gone in Belgium, France, Italy, not to mention Deutschland where (in that case with the help of their reaction to clinic issues) the pro calendar has almost been totally erased.
Just so we're clear; the Ster ZLM Toer was cancelled last year because host cities pulled out.
Belgium Tour was moved a bit this year, but races get moved about all the time.
Why get your panties in a knot every time someone dares implement something that's new and different? Cykling can't all be 200+ KM marathons… it's like food! Traditional dishes are all good, but so is trying something new every now and then. And if you don't like the new - or don't even want to try it - just let others enjoy it and don't act as if the new dishes will somehow erase the traditional ones.
There are dozens of landslides all along the Aurelia, they could even end up with an harder route if they still have to avoid some next spring (for example when the Altopiano delle Manie was added was to avoid a landslide on the Aurelia).