By Shane Stokes in Manchester
UCI president Pat McQuaid spoke up at the UCI Track World Championships in Manchester about the recent developments in the world of road cycling. The Irishman has been under fire from the Grand Tour organisers who have undermined the authority of the sport's governing body in recent months by holding Paris-Nice under the auspices of the French Cycling Federation.
McQuaid highlighted the seriousness of the situation, and claimed that the Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) purposely creating a split in the cycling world, and are benefiting from the support of some major players from the world of politics and sport.
"It is obvious now to the UCI that ASO is forming another international federation," he told Cyclingnews at the track world championships in Manchester. "ASO have their races, they have their own rules, they have the support of the President of the country Mr. Sarkozy, they have the support of the government, and they have the support of the Minister of Sport Bernard Laporte, who is assisting them in setting up this federation.
"In addition to that, they have the French federation on board, they have a controlling influence on AIOCC [International Association of Cycling Race Organisers], and now it is obvious, from the manoeuvrings of the AIGCP [International Association of Professional Cycling Teams] prior to Paris-Nice, that they control it as well through Eric Boyer."
Cycling inched closer towards civil war prior to the start of Paris-Nice when ASO revealed that it would run that race plus its other events outside the aegis of the UCI. Participating teams were required to sign contracts with the race organiser and each ultimately did so, despite the warning of the UCI that this was contrary to the rules of the governing body and would result in sanctions.
The UCI is still deliberating what to do with those teams, but McQuaid claims that several of them had concerns about the situation but were ultimately forced by ASO to comply with its requests under threat of exclusion from its biggest event come July.
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