ProTour changes take effect as of 2011
By Hedwig Kröner in Varese, with additional reporting from Shane Stokes
At the UCI's press conference on Saturday at the world championships in Varese, Pat McQuaid expressed his satisfaction with the peace deal that has been forged between the governing body and the Grand Tour organisers. As previously mentioned on Cyclingnews, Editions Philippe Amaury (EPA, owner of Tour de France organiser ASO), Giro d'Italia owner RCS and Vuelta a España owner Unipublic signed an agreement with the UCI on Thursday, ending the long disputes over the ProTour and other issues.
"Things have been worked out now," said McQuaid. "The agreement has been signed, and the pathway for the future has been laid out.
"We agreed the large part of the agreement back in August, and since then we have been working on the last points. Jean-Claude Killy [former president of ASO - ed.] and the other mediators were involved right until the very end."
The change in the French company's stance was pushed forward by Marie-Odile Amaury, the widow of the deceased Philipppe Amaury, who repaired her company's damaged ties with the UCI via the International Olympic Committee.
McQuaid, who will again be candidate for the UCI presidency election taking place next year, was confident that relations between the three Grand Tour organisers would be rebuilt over the coming months. "It is now a question of working together with the organisers and rebuilding relationships. My desire is that relations with the Tour go back to the way they were a few years ago. I genuinely feel that the people we are dealing with in EPA are sincere, honest, and have the same desires as us."
McQuaid added that he hadn't yet spoken directly with Tour director Christian Prudhomme, having dealt directly with his superiors in the EPA, but expects to do so at the launch of the Tour de France.
Officials at ASO, a company owned by EPA, have not yet responded publicly to the news. While changes at the top management level of ASO have been rumoured to be true for weeks, nothing to date has been made official.
The peace deal also meant that the suspension of the French federation FFC was lifted. Procedures underway against the President of the FFC, Jean Pitallier, and the President of the AIGCP, Eric Boyer and the International Commissaire Joël Ménard at Paris-Nice were also brought to an end, setting things up for a far more relaxed meeting between the UCI and all its federations on Friday.
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