Unibet.com has filed new legal action against Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which is to come before a court in the French town of Lille in the coming days. The ProTour team is hoping to force ASO to grant it a last minute spot in this year's Tour starting in London on July 7.
"We want to be granted a start in the Tour de France, not with Unibet.com but with Canyon.com, the team's sponsor with which we are allowed to start races in France," explained Unibet.com's general manager Koen Terryn to SportWereld.
"Earlier we made a suggestion to the ASO that we could ride the Tour in our orange and black outfits. In the past, this has been allowed for other teams. An example is Boule d'Or, who, in France ride with modified jerseys displaying Sunair, instead of the cigarette brand. That is what we want to implement now also," Terryn said.
"I am not sure if I should get my hopes to high, but we need to do something. To just stick our neck out and let them chop it off is not our objective. I hope that they yield, and start using their common sense. They have already turned the clock back 20 years in cycling, they are turning new sponsors away from the sport, but it seems that they don't care about that in France."
Terryn further claimed that some Unibet riders were being barred from starting their national championships this coming Sunday, despite offering to wear their Canyon.com jersey. "They are conducting a witch hunt, the big three [ASO, RCS and Unipublic, organisers of the Grand Tours - ed.] are working together," he said.
"In Spain we have all the necessary licenses, but it seems that still, they would rather turn us away than let us start. Even our start in the Vuelta, is not guaranteed. We will wait and see what comes of this new court case against the ASO; afterwards, we will need to have a discussion within the team over its future."