Following another drug scandal ravaged Tour de France and signs of increased tension between event organiser ASO and the sport's international governing body, the UCI, French health and sports minister Roselyne Bachelot has called on the organisations to unite in their bids to solve the sport's doping problems. Bachelot has pressed for a period of rebuilding between the two organisations in the lead up next year's Grand Tour, and urged ASO, to work with the UCI.
"I consider that the International Cycling Union (UCI) is an actor that can not be ignored," declared Bachelot, who visited the Tour as an ASO guest in the second week. "I understand the organisers of the Tour de France and the director of the race who was absolutely furious and more than that, sad because of problems - to say the least - that have occurred during the race."
ASO head Patrice Clerc added that the organisation isn't trying to free itself from the UCI, saying there has simply been a loss of confidence between the pair following events of the past month. "We have very good relationships with the UCI," declared Clerc, in stark contrast to comments made at his final day press conference with Tour director Christian Prudhomme on the weekend. "For us, there is just a real loss of confidence between some high-ranked people at the UCI and ourselves.
"Why?" he continued. "Because we have the feeling we've been betrayed several times, and - forgive me for the expression - we've been taken for a ride. So for us it is difficult today to take up with these people but clearly the ties are not broken with the UCI. I repeat. I've said it before. We do not want to free ourselves from this higher power, clearly not."
For his part, UCI president Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews last week that he's ready to sit down and hold discussions with ASO. McQuaid attended the final days of this year's Tour de France as a guest of various teams and a French television station, with ASO having not invited the UCI head to its event.
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'