- Article published:
- February 2, 2007, 00:00
- Susan Westemeyer
The dispute between the UCI and the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) over the invitations to the...
The dispute between the UCI and the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) over the invitations to the opening round of the ProTour, the Paris-Nice stage race, escalated today when the UCI allegedly sent out a threatening message. According to Reuters, the UCI sent a message to the managers of the ProTour teams at the Tour of Qatar which suggested that the 'Race to the Sun' be banned if the ASO did not comply with the rules of the ProTour.
The message is yet another dig in this war of words between the two organisations. Earlier this month, the ASO, which organises Paris-Nice as well as the Tour de France and other races, refused to invite all twenty ProTour teams to compete in the event, choosing to leave out new ProTour team Unibet.com in favor of the Professional Continental team Agritubel.
The ASO president, Patrice Clerc, told Cyclingnews that Unibet.com's position didn't concern them, saying "It's a problem between them and the UCI, not between them and us." UCI president Pat McQuaid followed up this week, saying "Without going into details right now, at the moment we are looking at what measures we could take in relation to the Paris-Nice situation."
For their part, the riders sided with the UCI in support of the ProTour. A statement released following the Association of Professional Cyclists' (CPA) first meeting this week, said "the Rider's Council wishes to stress that it is totally unacceptable for riders that participation to their races be unilaterally determined by organizers. Riders and teams, but definitely also organizers, will have to respect the UCI rules and these rules can only be changed by a democratic procedure as foreseen in the UCI statutes, and certainly not in a one-sided manner by one of the parties."
The CPA called on the UCI to take "all adequate measures in order for all UCI ProTour teams to participate to all races on the 2007 UCI ProTour calendar."
ASO director Christian Prudhomme was quick to respond to the news, telling Sporza, "We will organise Paris-Nice. I can reassure the teams: we will do everything to ensure the race takes place. We respect the regulations. We do nothing against the law. I find it paradoxical that the UCI now threatens us with a prohibition."
UCI president Pat McQuaid has been in meetings all week to ensure the future of the ProTour. He told Cyclingnews that all of the meetings involved discussions, saying, "Obviously the ProTour was discussed at all of those meetings and a commitment to the future of it is there. Everybody from the UCI agrees that the ProTour is the way forward." With the season already kicking into high gear, time is ticking down to the March 11 Paris-Nice start date, and a compromise will need to be found soon if the 'Race to the Sun' is to kick off the ProTour calendar.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'
Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split