After UCI president Pat McQuaid threatened the pro teams with punishment last week if they would start at this years edition
of Paris - Nice, the International Cycling Union "calls upon teams and riders to act with caution and respect the regulations."
In a press release (from yesterday March 1) the UCI said: "The UCI reminds riders that their participation in
the Paris-Nice under these conditions could have several unfortunate consequences for them, in particular the lack of insurance
in the event of an accident if the insurance companies refuse to cover a race held outside the regulations. This is just one
example of the consequences. The participation of a rider in the Paris-Nice may also have regulatory consequences, including
a possible suspension of up to six months."
The statement continued with: "The UCI demands that ASO should register its events, starting with the Paris-Nice, on the
calendars agreed in Treviso in accordance with the commitment made by the President of the French Cycling Federation. The
UCI wants the Paris-Nice to go ahead, but under the framework of UCI regulations."
But a split between Tour organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) and the UCI seems to be inevitable. Former UCI president
Hein Verbruggen is said to be the man who is still pulling the strings. Verbruggen is UCI vice-president nowadays and said during
an interview with Belgian TV programme 'De Zevende Dag' (the seventh day) that he thinks that there is "only one solution:
a split of the calendar."
Verbruggen threathned teams and riders again: "The French federation organises Paris - Nice, sanctions are ineluctable.
The French will not be allowed to participate at the World Championships and the Olympics. I don't have any doubts about that."
Verbruggen is also chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Beijing Olympics.
Verbruggen continued by saying: "The teams cannot participate at Paris - Nice. ASO left the UCI. The race doesn't exist.
There are no race commissioners, no doping controllers. We will punish people fir that."
Verbruggen concluded with:
"In the end this evolutionary process will bring a split. One UCI calender and another one of ASO. I think its the only solution."
manager Patrick Lefevere also attended at the TV programme. Lefevere said that the pro teams will meet on Friday to discuss
the situation. Lefevere even threathened with a strike. Lefevere said: "Its very simple: the organisers and the UCI are the
directors and the riders are the actors. But they are paid by the teams, aren't they?"
Lefevere added: "We have to force ASO and UCI to come to an agreement. And if that doesn't happen, there just won't be
any rider to start at a race. On Friday the teams will discuss this proposal. But I am a realist: sometimes the solidarity
between the teams isn't very big."