By Greg Johnson
Canyon, formally registered as Unibet.com, ProTour team manager Koen Terryn has hit out at the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups (AIGCP), resigning the team from the organization's membership. In a general release, Terryn blasted the AIGCP for never standing up for the squad's rights in its on-going battle with Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), also saying he regrets any parties considering a boycott of the event he's still hopeful his squad will start in.
"Much to my regret, I'm reading on several websites that some people are inciting a boycott during a Tour de France stage to lodge a complaint against the exclusion of our Canyon team in France," stated Terryn's release. "We regret the distant attitude of the other ProTour teams in this matter. We conclude that the AIGCP - of which we are a full member - and their chairman Patrick Lefevere have never stood up for our rights. From now on, we no longer wish to be part of this AIGCP."
Unibet.com has been involved in a legal tussle with the Tour organiser all season - with the French organisation denying the squad participation in any of its events. While ASO's formal line on the matter is the squad's sponsor violates French laws, and it would be open to legal action should it invite the team to participate, it's widely accepted that the underlying reason is the Grand Tour's ongoing battle with the UCI, considering the squad's efforts to race in the French races under the sponsorship of Canyon has also failed to yield a resolution.
"We also regret the UCI's laxity in rewarding us a ProTour licence without having laid down any guaranteed agreements with the organizers who are now discriminating and undeservedly excluding us," continued Terryn's statement. "On my behalf and on behalf of our entire team, I explicitly want to call on the people not to boycott the Tour de France. This wouldn't help us in any way. Furthermore, actions like these would damage international cycling even more, something we want to avoid at all times."
The squad recently filed new legal action in an attempt to be granted an 11th hour slot in this year's Tour, which Terryn is still hopeful will happen, having already successfully sued the organisation for compensation for the events it's already been denied participation.
"Recently, our team proved to be a worthy Tour de France competitor after finishing second in the overall team classification of the Tour de Suisse," concluded Terryn. "In this proper context, I hope that common sense prevails and I still hope to be invited to the most prestigious cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, after all."
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