By Shane Stokes
At the L'Union Européenne de Cyclisme (UEC) Congress meeting held on Sunday near Thessalonoki in Greece, the organisation voted against the planned running of the Paris-Nice race outside the regulatory framework of cycling's peak governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI).
The UEC also discussed the structure of the UCI ProTour and the problems which have afflicted it since its introduction. The majority of the delegates were against the plans relating to Paris-Nice, while most also called on a rethink of the ProTour.
A resolution was put to the Congress, asking:
a) The UCI to undertake a complete review of the ProTour during 2008, and to bring proposals for a revised structure to the UCI Congress in September 2008, for approval for the 2009 season.
b) The French Cycling Federation (FFC) not to authorise the Paris-Nice, or any other major international race, outside the regulations of the UCI.
When put to the vote, 18 national federations approved the resolution while seven voted against. This greater-than two-thirds majority was welcomed by British Cycling President, Brian Cookson, who said afterwards that he hoped it would give leverage and help to resolve the current stand-off between ASO and the FFC, and the UCI.
"I think this is a clear and coherent resolution which will help all sides to bring this crisis to a speedy conclusion," said Cookson. "It acknowledges that the ProTour has been a problematic and divisive structure which needs a major re-think, but at the same time, it emphasises that the democratic structures that we have all put in place over the years to govern our sport, must be respected.
"With goodwill on both sides, we can now avoid a major breakdown in our sport, and move forward together to address the other serious issues and develop our great sport in all its many facets".