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Astana and Quick Step downplay suggestions of a riders strike

By:
Richard Tyler
Published:
July 13, 2009, 12:56 BST,
Updated:
July 13, 2009, 14:17 BST
Edition:
Latest Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 13, 2009
Quick Step Team Manager Patrick Lefevere

Quick Step Team Manager Patrick Lefevere

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Teams to meet on Monday to discuss action on radio ban

Teams at the Tour de France have downplayed suggestions of a rider's strike as they meet on Monday to discuss objections to the team radio ban due to be enforced on stages 10 and 13 of this year's Tour.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Monday that a riders strike may take place in Limoges, at the start of Tuesday's stage 10. However, representatives from both Astana and Quick Step told Cyclingnews on Monday that there were no plans for their riders to stage a protest.

"Johan told us yesterday that there would be discussions and there should be no need for grown-ups to strike," said Astana's press officer, Phillipe Maertens.

Quick Step Team Director Patrick Lefevere seemed surprised at suggestions of a riders strike and admitted that he had not been heavily involved with the opposition to the radio ban, although he had two meetings scheduled for Monday.

"I don't know anything about riders striking," he said. "I had other worries at the beginning of the Tour. I have a meeting at three o'clock with some of my colleagues at my hotel. I think I then have another meeting at six o'clock with the AIGCP [International Association of Professional Cycling Teams]."

Fourteen teams signed a petition last week opposing the International Cycling Union's (UCI) ban on radio communication between teams and riders on the basis that the ban will threaten the safety of the athletes. Garmin-Slipstream and the five French teams in the race did not sign the petition.

Astana Team Director, Johan Bruyneel, has led calls to overturn the ban. However, Maertens said that forcing a change on the UCI's decision will be difficult.

"I think the team's association surely will talk with the UCI today. The UCI approved this, that's the problem. It's not an ASO rule," said Maertens. "[The UCI] have to change it but I don't think it will be easy to do it in one day."
 

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