ASO versus UCI: Teams fear UCI sanctions

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04.03.2008/ Many Pro-Tour teams fear UCI sanctions if they start at this years edition of Paris - Nice. Rabobank and Francaise des Jeux changed their roster for the race because they fear that riders might get banned by the UCI. Meanwhile ASO dropped one of its demands in the additional contract that teams will have to sign before they can start at the French stage race. Paris - Nice will start on Sunday march 9.

The power struggle between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) is still going on. Professional teams and riders fear sanctions from the UCI and some teams changed their roster for Paris - Nice.

Francaise des Jeux team manager told that Philippe Gilbert will not start at this years edition of Paris - Nice and race the Tirreno - Adriatico instead. Madiot said:  "I do not want my captain suspended.". Madiot continued by saying: "If necessary we will start with eight French riders in a race that is now part of the French calendar. Gilbert will ride Tirreno-Adriatico instead. I still have to talk with him [Gilbert, editor] about this."

Quickstep and Rabobank also changed their roster. Quickstep team manager Patrick Lefevere decided that Tom Boonen, Gert Steegmans and Paolo Bettini will now start at the Tirreno - Adriatico. Rabobank's Joost Posthuma was selected for Paris - Nice as well but will instead supprot Thomas Dekker at the Italian stage race.

The International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) will now have to decide if ASO or UCI will win this round in their ongoing battle that started with the introduction of the UCI Pro-Tour in 2005. ASO skipped one clausel of an additional contract that the teams have to sign before they can start at Paris - Nice. ASO no longer demand that the race organiser of Paris - nice. Tour de France and several other races have the right to ban or send a team home on the basis of "doping rumours". If the teams sign the contract with ASO, the UCI will lose an important stage in the ongoing power struggle with ASO.

The French teams decided that they will start at Paris -Nice. Other teams did not decide yet. Quickstep team manager Patrick Lefevere said he didn't know yet. Lefvere said: "We do have the intention to start but we have to choose between the gun and the guillotine."

UCI president Pat McQuaid repeated yesterday evening that the UCI will punish riders and teams "who ride these illegal races outside the UCI rules." 

On Sunday the European Cycling Union (UEC) adopted a resolution in which its members asked the French Cycling Federation (FFC) "not to authorise Paris-Nice, or any other major international race, outside the regulations of the UCI." The UEC resolution also wants the UCI "to undertake a complete review of the ProTour during 2008, and to bring proposals for a revised structure to the UCI Congress in September 2008, for approval for the 2009 season." The resolution was approved by 18 national federations, seven national federations voted against the resolution. The seven countries who voted against the resolution are Belgium, France,Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria and Greece.

The president of the French Cycling Federation,Jean Pitallier will now try to organise a meeting with the French secretary of state for sports, Bernard Laport and Pat McQuaid. Pitallier said: "I already invited the state secretary." Pitallier continued by saying: "But I would like to point out that the last time the French state tried to arbitrate between the two parties, the UCI wasn't even willing to talk."

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