Paris-Nice becomes "free event"

The French Cycling Federation FFC has agreed to let Paris-Nice take place under its rules and...

The French Cycling Federation FFC has agreed to let Paris-Nice take place under its rules and regulations. The race organiser ASO, who also manages the Tour de France amongst other events, had asked the FFC to place the race under its authority, after talks with the UCI were caught in a deadlock.

Jean Pitallier, president of the FFC, signed a convention with ASO on Wednesday, "with the objective to save a competition that should remain an event of highest importance within the heritage of French sport," according to an official communiqué. Paris-Nice will thus become a "free event within the national French calendar", meaning no UCI points will be awarded.

The FFC will send its own commissaires to the race to ensure that rules of competition are being followed, but they will not only come from its own ranks. "We will name the commissaires to the event," Pitallier told AFP, "but they will not all be French. The Spanish federation has agreed to send us a commissaire, and we're going to solicit the Italian federation as well."

Asked about the legitimacy of the new situation, Pitallier responded, "It's true that one article of the UCI regulations mentions that the national federations have to respect the rules of the UCI, but it is also mentioned that this has to be done whilst respecting the law of the country. That is precisely our case." Whilst the FFC received the backing of the French sports ministry for this latest turn of events, it also again appealed to both conflicting parties - ASO and UCI - that "a realistic and constructive solution be found to come out of this distressing dead end, which threatens the continuation of the season and the future of competitive cycling."

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