In response to increasing tensions and threats leading up to the Paris-Nice race set to begin March 9, the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) association called for arbitration to resolve the escalating immediate conflict between the UCI and ASO organizers. The IPCT confirmed Wednesday that it had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to intervene in the well-known confrontation, which most recently centered on the French Paris-Nice event.
"In this affair, the teams and their riders are caught between a rock and a hard place," read IPCT's statement which added that the organization "did not want to take part in this conflict, but must protect the interests of members." The IPCT is asking CAS to decide if the teams and their riders have a right to take part in Paris-Nice without being exposed to a risk of sanctions from the UCI.
On Tuesday, UCI president Pat McQuaid directly threatened riders and teams with suspensions and fines if they side with the organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and participate in the upcoming race, which is to be sanctioned under the French national federation. Described in a letter, sanctions may include up to six months suspension, a fine of up to 10,000 Swiss francs, the loss of UCI points and "exclusion from participation in UCI World Championships and other events". Teams have also been threatened with the suspension of their UCI registration, a fine of up to 10,000 Swiss francs and withdrawal of the UCI ProTour licence or Wild Card label.
The IPCT said non-participation of its teams in Paris - Nice and other ASO events would have serious consequences for the teams' sporting and economic interests and would set off chain reactions, including potential loss of sponsors that could put a squad's existence in jeopardy. At the same time, it noted that ASO has asked teams to sign a contract of participation that would have them racing under a framework other than the UCI's – thereby leaving them open to the threatened sanctions by the UCI.