The professional cyclists' association (CPA) has joined the chorus of criticism of the attitude of Tour de France toward rides, as demonstrated at the recent launch of the 2006 Tour.
At that presentation, outgoing Tour director Jean-Marie LeBlanc made no mention of seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, and the CPA is miffed that neither LeBlanc nor anyone else from the Tour organisation made much mention of the riders, without whom the Tour would be a rather pointless advertising motorcade.
In its most recent newsletter, the CPA said, "The CPA considers it regrettable that, in the speeches made during the presentation of the Tour de France 2006, almost no mention was made of the riders. No tribute was paid to the winners of the various individual rankings, however attending the event. The CPA allows itself to remind that the riders are the ones who, thanks to their achievements, indisputably contribute to the importance and the fame of the cycling races."
Summarising its recent general meeting, the CPA also suggested that the three grand tours - the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro d'Italia - should all be shortened by four days, and some one-day and stage races should be run over shorter distances. "That would give the riders the possibility to program their season on the basis of 80-85 days of racing per annum, which is considered as reasonable for an athlete," said the CPA.
The organisation also criticised safety provisions at the Giro di Lombardia. "The General Meeting decided to send a protest letter to the UCI with matter of the general conditions of the course of the 2005 Tour of Lombardy in order to protest against the total lack of lighting in 3 tunnels, the bad condition of the surface of the roadway on certain parts of the course and the difficult crossing of some villages," said the CPA. "All those points do not correspond indeed to the organisation criteria a UCI ProTour event must fulfil."