The UCI World Cycling Tour, the UCI's masters and amateur Gran Fondo series, will be renamed the UCI Gran Fondo World Series as of 2016. The final event of the series will also be renamed, becoming the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.

With this name change, the UCI recognizes the increasing worldwide popularity of mass participation Gran Fondo events with official timing and results for each age group.

The concept of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series will remain the same: riders who take part in one of the qualifier events held worldwide and who finish in the first 25% of their age group qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. The World Champions in each age group win the coveted UCI rainbow jersey.

The 2016 UCI Gran Fondo World Series comprises 14 qualifiers, including four events new to the calendar. The UCI Granfondo World Championships will take place from September 1 to 4 in Perth, Australia.

Three events have already taken place in the past few months, starting with a new event to the calendar, Poznan Bike Challenge (Poland) which attracted 5,000 starters.

Riders will get the chance to test the courses of the 2016 UCI Gran Fondo World

Championships on March 11 to 13 when Perth hosts a qualifier event prior to the September Worlds. The 19km time trial through the city centre is completely flat, while the 142km and 117km road races are on undulating roads that are nevertheless not very steep.

The Forrest Grape Ride in New Zealand is a second new event and, true to its name, takes place in the beautiful wine region of Marlborough. The event on April 2 will give riders Down Under an additional option to qualify for the UCI World Championships.

A third new event is l'Albigeoise in Albi, France. This event, in a region often referred to as the Tuscany of France, will host the UCI World Championships in 2017 on a new course that riders can test during the qualifier on May 29.

Niseko Classic in Niseko, Japan, is the final new event on the calendar. Japan has a strong cycling tradition and is the only Asian country to have already hosted a UCI Elite Road World Championships (Utsunomiya 1990). The UCI Gran Fondo World Series event takes place on July 10 along a tough course in the famous Japanese ski area.

Other classical venues remain in the series. Amy's Granfondo and Amashova Durban Classic have already taken place while Gran Fondo Denmark, Road Brazil Ride, Grey County Road Race, Tour of Cambridgeshire, Maraton Franja, Rhodes Gran Fondo Tour and La Leggendaria Charly Gaul have already proven in previous years their high quality event. The Poznan Bike Challenge and Amy's Granfondo next September will be the first qualifying events for the 2017 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.