Cycling reform: Paris meeting concludes

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Two days of discussions over the reform of pro cycling at the French Olympic Committee in Paris have come to end. Approximately 40 participants, including the head of the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC) Victor Cordero, the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) Eric Boyer, the French Cycling Federation (FFC) President Jean Pitallier and representatives of Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), debated in what they called a "International forum for the future of cycling." The meeting took place on Wednesday and Thursday this week without the participation of the International Cycling Union (UCI), which declined the invitation to the event.

At the end of the discussions, a "declaration for a new start in cycling" was signed, which asks the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as well as the national governments for support. Amongst other points, the participants agreed on the setting up of a new elite cycling calendar in 2009, which would include the "historic" races but be more "open" than the ProTour, as well as the creation of points licence for the teams, which would feature proportional sanctions to every infraction of anti-doping rules.

"We agree on what we want," said teams representative Boyer about the different roles of race organisers, teams and riders. "Now, we have two choices: Either we tell the UCI that it has its place within the framework we conceived or we acknowledge the fact that it did not reply to our extended hand. I prefer the first option."

However, the proposed framework is still "subject to further, more detailed reflection." The concluding document, according to L'Equipe, was sent to the UCI on Friday. "With this forum, we wanted to show that a common conception of cycling is developing, even if we don't consent on everything. Now, we will move forward with or without the UCI, as we did in Paris-Nice," said AIOCC president and Vuelta a España organiser Cordero.

The Spaniard also asked WADA to reconsider its opting out of the so-called biological passport. "WADA needs to be the motor and the driver of this project," added Cordero, who hoped the riders' data would be available in time for the Tour de France this year.

Christophe Blanchard-Dignac, head of the French lottery Française des Jeux, as well as a representative of the Belgian Lotto company, moreover would like to create an association of the team sponsors, and regretted "the absence of a pilot in pro cycling. We don't know what cycling will be on January 1, 2009. We need a precise action plan as soon as possible."

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'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

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