Pro team organisation looks to cash consolidation

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

By tradition, on the eve of the Tour de France presentation, the AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Teams) meets in Paris to review its current activity and business. In 2005, the main point of discussion was to form a economic alliance between the AIGCP teams that would look out for their common interests. For the most part, all of the ProTour squads were in favour of this approach, with two exceptions, Cofidis and Francaise des Jeux. Last March, AIGCP president Patrick Lefevere announced a plan to that would unite the teams in this economic alliance by creating a company that would collectively manage the rights of the teams and financial obligations and relations with race organisers. But two out of the three French ProTour squads currently oppose this approach.

After the meeting, Discovery Channel sports director Johan Bruyneel told Cyclingnews, "I find it kind of strange that the two teams that disagreed with this project were the teams that were featured in the 2005 Tour de France highlights video. Cofidis had the little kid with his cycling cap that was featured, and then Marc Madiot [Francaise des Jeux directeur sportif] was screaming on radio in that video. Not to mention that it's not normal the way Lance wasn't included in that video. But I'm not surprised about this attitude. After Lance decided to go for his seventh win, we went to see the Tour de France people last February to tell them and the reaction wasn't very positive. So this video is just a continuation of this weird, negative atmosphere."

As for the AIGCP teams, Bruyneel was confident that AIGCP president Lefevere would be able to bring the project forward despite the resistance of the French teams.

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