ASO, UCI quiet as riders go racing

Politics put aside, as the riders race

Politics put aside, as the riders race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

By Greg Johnson

After a week of heavy-handed words and threats of sanctioning riders if they start Paris-Nice, both the race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and the sport's international governing body UCI have gone silent following the start of the race. Neither party is talking about what happens next in the ongoing UCI Vs. Grand Tour Organisers dispute, despite UCI president Pat McQuaid's threat last week to sanction any rider that took part in the French stage race.

Cyclingnews' attempted to find out what action the UCI would take now, however Irishman McQuaid said the UCI wasn't prepared to comment for the time being. An ASO spokesperson said it had no comment on the situation either, instead preferring that the focus this week be on the riders racing at its event.

The lack of action from the UCI leaves the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the teams' and riders' heads, not knowing what will result of their revolt against the governing body's request to boycott the event. Teams were threatened with the suspension of their UCI registration, a fine of up to 10,000 Swiss francs and withdrawal of the UCI ProTour licence or Wild Card label if they started the race.

The only party that has spoken out on the issue since Paris-Nice's opening Prologue is the Cyclists Professional Association (CPA). CPA has once again called on the involved parties to meet and resolve the issues at hand after Paric-Nice.

"The context in which the race Paris-Nice started gives way to many uncertainties as for the disciplinary sanctions the riders could receive as well today as in the next races," read a CPA release. "However, the riders have the right to exercise their job in a clear and serene context. This is why the CPA requires a meeting to be held urgently, in the presence of its Riders' Council, with the President of the UCI as soon as Paris-Nice is finished."

The dispute between the two organisations flared again in late February, when ASO announced on February 26, 2008 that it would hold Paris-Nice outside the aegis of the UCI and had recruited the French Cycling Federation (FFC) to sanction the event. ASO then appointed the French anti-doping agency, AFLD, to be in charge of the doping controls for the event.

Despite calls for the rouge event to return to the UCI's governance, ASO instead came to an agreement on individual contracts to race at its event with the teams.

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