By Jean-François Quénet in Salzburg
The 2007 Tour de France (July 7-29) will be launched on October 26 but it's highly unlikely that ASO will announce who will take part in the next edition. The AIGCP [International Association of Professional Cycling Teams] is firmly confident in maintaining the obligation for all ProTour teams to be invited, whether it be 20 or only 18, if Astana, Unibet.com or Barloworld don't receive a license on December 7.
"We're prepared to go to the CAS for that," an official from AIGCP told Cyclingnews in Salzburg. The UCI is also on its way to the CAS against ASO, RCS and Unipublic after they were notified that the organisers of the three Grand Tours don't want to have their brand associated with the UCI ProTour.
"We're prepared to go to CAS, should it be necessary," president Pat McQuaid declared in a press conference in Salzburg. The Irishman added: "Shall we lose the case, we'd change the name of the UCI ProTour, but the calendar would stay the same."
So far, the request from the Grand Tours to be withdrawn from the ProTour calendar hasn't been successful and there are more fights to come between the two parties. "I don't think it's a good idea to go to CAS, we'd better work on a compromise," Tour of Italy organiser Angelo Zomegnan said.
On the doping aspect, McQuaid also warned that "in the future, legal actions will be taken against riders, teams or individuals who have damaged the image of cycling by their implication in doping affairs."