“All sports evolve but we continue to do the same things as forty years ago. Since I started in the 1980s, the rules of cycling have changed very little. I think it’s time to adapt,” he told a few journalists. Among the options mentioned by Unzue, 68, is the possibility of replacing a rider in the event of abandonment during one of the three major Tours (Tour de France, Tour of Italy, Tour of Spain).
On the 2023 Tour de France, “we lost Enric (Mas), our leader, on the first day in a fall. Why not allow him to be replaced, at least for the first week, and continue with eight riders?, Unzue asked. We must make the rules more humane and less brutal, better protect the health of the runners,” he insisted, recalling that in “football there was for a long time no possible replacement” before that changed.
Another reform mentioned: “today, if a runner falls, he sometimes has to suffer like an animal to reach the finish and have the right to start again the next day. Why not allow him to get in a car or an ambulance to be examined and leave the next day if nothing is broken?”, continued the boss of the Movistar team for fourteen years.
Unzue also proposes shortening the duration of the Grand Tours from three to two weeks. “This would allow the best to participate in all three and be competitive in them. It would contribute to the spectacle to see the best racing against each other more often,” he said.
If the American Sepp Kuss won the last Tour of Spain after having ridden the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in a team role, it is extremely rare to see riders compete in the three major Tours in the same year. , as these events are physically and mentally demanding. “We all grew up with the epic idea of sport but we need more humanity,” Unzue stressed.