The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) issued a press release Friday afternoon, calling on both UCI and Grand Tour organisers to resolve the conflict over the ProTour, which has been troubling the sport since the inception of the road cycling reform two years ago. Appealing to both parties to "find the serenity and lucidity to breathe new life into the debate concerning the ProTour and, on a more general level, on the principles that govern our sport," the CPA did not take sides, criticising the arguments that the UCI, as well as the ASO have been putting forward.
Throughout the conflict, the French Tour de France organiser insisted that it was opposed to the ProTour because of its 'closed' nature - but the CPA "is perfectly aware of the real causes of this profound rift [...]. To continue to hide behind this purely demagogue argument and to block an innovative project that our sport needs to guarantee its future, will not help to appease the situation. [...] Let's not forget that the growth of the Tour de France these last decades was based on commercial aspects - exactly what the UCI plans for other races that don't have the reputation of those organised by ASO."
But the Association of Professional Cyclists also attacked the stance taken by the UCI. "The UCI has the moral obligation to lead cycling to a solution of the problem; it cannot engage in a battle for the prestige or the personal pride of its leaders. When all the parties practically had agreed on the number of ProTour licenses to attribute (18), the UCI embarked on the defense of the principle of 20 at all cost. On a more general level, the project of the ProTour as well as its realisation seemed somewhat hastened, which certainly contributed to heating up the conflict. [...] Wouldn't it have been possible to better manage these differences, so that they don't lead to much more severe conflicts?
"On behalf of the pro cyclists, the CPA would like to tell the organisers of the Grand Tours that its members will not take any initiative against the interests of their employers, and that if the teams decide to participate in Paris-Nice - thus contravening UCI regulations - they will be at the start in a regular way," the communiqué added.
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'