By Jean-Francois Quenet in Paris, with additional reporting by Susan Westemeyer
Five ProTour teams have not yet made the required contributions to the biological passport programme, and may be excluded from the upcoming Paris-Nice if they do not make the required minimum payment by today. At a press conference in Paris today, UCI President Pat McQuaid said that Cofidis, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Silence-Lotto, Quick Step and Caisse d'Epargne are the teams involved.
"If the teams do not pay by the close of business today, they will not be able to take part in the UCI's World Calendar races," McQuaid said. The teams' contribution to the biological passport programme is 120,000 Euro. Half is due by March 5, and the second half due by the end of June. Some teams have already paid the full amount, and other teams have paid only the required first-half. McQuaid did not indicate whether the five teams have paid nothing or have paid less than the required amount.
He further noted that all of the Professional Continental teams who have wild-card status and belong to the biological passport programme have paid in full.
McQuaid said that as far as he knew, LPR Brakes had paid the full amount, but that Quick Step had not. "It is not acceptable that small teams with a smaller budged have paid, but that some ProTour teams have not," McQuaid said.
(Note, as of Friday evening, all teams have paid. Stay tuned for First Edition news for the full story.)