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Lawyer speaks for Unibet

Team Unibet.com is caught in the middle a political tug of war between the UCI and the Grand Tour organizers. Following Monday's meeting between the two dueling parties, the ProTour team called a press conference of its own Wednesday afternoon, to discuss the issues and its legal actions. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews met with the team's lawyer, Christoph De Preter, in Drongen, Belgium, home of the team's headquarters.

Developing laws in France have stated that no other gaming institutions can advertise in its country other than the state's selected institutions, like Française Des Jeux, which also happens to sponsor a French team. The team said at the conference to Cyclingnews that this is not entirely correct, in that a team like Française Des Jeux can race outside of France without facing similar legal problems that now face Unibet.com. It further stated that the team is suffering as a result of disagreements between the ASO and UCI.

In 2005, the team existed as MrBookmaker, so what has changed? "That is a very good question; I don't think anything has changed," noted De Preter. "Over the last three years, the team was sponsored by an online bookmaker and suddenly this year, the organizers of the Grand Tours and the UCI have considered this to be a legal problem.

"We are of the opinion that this whole legal debate is actually just a cover-up for something much more fundamental, which is the struggle that is going on between the UCI and the organizers of the Grand Tours to gain control over the cycling community and of the ProTour system."

To read the complete feature, click here. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for an upcoming feature about how the Unibet.com team situation fits into the larger, ongoing ProTour / Grand Tours conflict.

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