Lefevere calls on EC to investigate ASO

Patrick Lefevere, QuickStep team manager and president of the association of ProTour teams (IPCT), has called upon the European Commission to investigate the ASO, organiser of such races as the Tour de France, Paris-Nice and Paris-Roubaix.

ASO has opposed the International Cycling Union UCI since the creation of the ProTour in 2005, he said, and the situation has gotten worse this year, with ASO refusing to allow Unibet.com to participate in its races, although it is a ProTour team.

In Sportwereld, Lefevere noted that the three Grand Tour organisers ASO, RCS Sport (Giro d'Italia) and Unipublic (Vuelta a Espana) "control 70 percent of the market. Whether they can abuse their dominate marketing position is a question for the European Commission," Lefevere said. "ASO wants to decide who will ride its races. That is a problem, because the first question that each new sponsor asks is: can we ride the Tour? It is now not clear who stipulates who can ride there. A decision must be made, and the European Commission must say what is possible and what is not possible."

Lefevere did not know exactly who should raise the problem at the EC. "The IPCT does not have money for such an expensive procedure. And the UCI doesn't have so much money after the lawsuits concerning Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis," he said.

The Belgian was also looking to the future of pro cycling and possible changes to come. "At the moment, there are approximately 160 ProTour racing days. That could be changed to 70 to 80. The Tour de France could be shortened to two weeks. And cycling is becoming more international. This year I have visited races in Australia, California, and China."

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