AIGCP crumbling

The International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) held a meeting two days before...

The International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) held a meeting two days before the start of the 94th edition of the Tour de France. The meeting didn't go smoothly and, led by the German squads Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile, eight teams put up resistance against the other ten.

The representatives of Gerolsteiner, Hans-Michael Holczer, and of T-Mobile, Luuc Eisenga, reasoned that "the other teams are not abiding by the ethics agreement we all signed." The German online site radsport-aktiv reported that the newly formed group, which consists of only German and French teams, will meet for the first time during the rest day on July 16. The teams will remain in the AIGCP.

Holczer explained that when "a Spanish representative said 'we only take the medicine like other sports person, that is not doping', I got up and left." He was quickly followed by T-Mobile and the French teams. The head of Gerolsteiner didn't think there would be any impact on the Tour de France. "I assume that all 189 riders will start Saturday, if they pass the medical check."

The meeting's topic was the exclusion of Spanish teams Relax-GAM, Saunier Duval and Caisse d'Epargne, Italian Lampre and the American outfit Discovery Channel for violating the code of ethics because they hired riders implicated in Operación Puerto.

Discovery Channel had previously announced that it was quitting the AIGCP voluntarily. Unibet declared on its website Tuesday its intention to break with the AIGCP, after not being invited to recent meetings and not getting the support for its request to ride in the Grand Tours. With those two teams out, the AIGCP consists of 18 teams but the current standoff of eight teams versus ten puts the future of the AIGCP in doubt.

Holczer cited recent UCI numbers that showed that especially riders from Spain, Portugal and Italy had alarming blood profiles as the centre of the controversy.

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