In the days following a threat by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to suspend or fine riders if they participate in Paris-Nice, several organisations of teams and riders have come out in support of mediation toward a resolution to the long-running feud between the sport's governing body and the race organisers. The Italian Professional Riders' Association (ACCPI) and the Association of International Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) today responded to Tuesday's e-mail threat by the UCI.
Calling the riders the "most exposed and least protected victims in the controversy between the UCI and the ASO," the ACCPI called for a meeting between the UCI, national federations, organisers, teams, directors, doctors and riders to solve the conflict which as put riders in a no-win situation. Its statement cited the UCI's own regulations in defense of the riders.
"In reference to Article 2.15.139 of regulation for the UCI ProTour teams and Article 2.16.052 of regulations for UCI Professional teams - cyclists are in fact employees of their respective teams," the ACCPI statement read. "If, in order to avoid sanctions from the UCI the riders decided not to take part in the race against the will of their team, they may run into even more severe sanctions imposed by the same sports groups."
The statement also pointed out that the UCI's own regulations also handle the participation in "forbidden" events by riders, which carries a one month suspension and 50-100 Swiss franc fine, far less than the six month ban and 10,000 Swiss franc fine mentioned in the e-mail.
AIGCP calls sanctions "illegal"
The AIGCP responded to a request by the professional riders' association (CPA) president Cédric Vasseur which urged riders not to participate in Paris-Nice without written permission from their team in order to protect them from possible repercussions from their teams should they be sanctioned by the UCI for racing the French event.
AIGCP president Eric Boyer said that the contract between the Paris-Nice organiser ASO and the riders has been finalised, and "meets all the legitimate demands of the riders," according to AFP.
Boyer dismissed the threats of the UCI as illegal under the governing body's own regulations. Citing the same regulations as the ACCPI, Boyer stressed that the French Federation gave the ASO "permission to organize this event, in accordance with French law. (...) The UCI's threats, unjustifiably contrary to the riders, keep them in a state of intimidation."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'