By Gregor Brown and Hedwig Kröner
ASO's Patrice Clerc has explained to Cyclingnews that his organisation did not have any influence on the request by the Danish Sports Federation (DIF) to the Danish Cycling Union (DCU) to not allow Unibet.com to race in the Tour of Denmark. He refuted any insinuations to that end made by Tour Race Director Jesper Worre, published yesterday.
Clerc referenced back to the decision made by the Grand Tours in December 2006, where the Grand Tour race organisers (ASO, RCS Sport and Unipublic) decided to allow only the then-existing 18 ProTour teams in to its races automatically.
The decision excluded Astana and Unibet.com, who were subsequently granted licenses by the UCI into its ProTour. Clerc continued to explain that ASO did want other non-ProTour teams in its races, but noted that the ongoing conflict between the French government and European Union over the state-owned gambling monopolies played into the difficulties of selecting a team like Unibet.com.
The ASO, however, did not have any authority within this legal battle, which concerned European national governments, the European Union and the online gambling companies only, according to Clerc.
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'