French federation signs agreement with ASO, claims UCI intimidation

The president of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), Jean Pitallier today signed an agreement with the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) which will pave the way for the Federation to sanction the March 9-16 Paris-Nice stage race, reported Agency France Presse. The convention, signed by ASO director Christian Prudhomme, puts the race one step closer to being run outside the control of the International Cycling Union (UCI), in defiance of UCI president Pat McQuaid's threats to punish the teams and the federations if they went forward with the scheme.

"The UCI is trying to intimidate the whole world," said Pitallier to the French newspaper L'Humanité on Thursday. "The UCI is afraid that the teams, who have bought some very expensive licenses to be eligible to participate in certain races, will request that they be reimbursed the money because they can participate in these races without a licence. The UCI is in the sport to make the rules and to enforce them, not to become an economic and financial partnership," he continued.

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