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Stapleton optimistic on cycling's political future

Bob Stapleton, owner of Team Columbia

Bob Stapleton, owner of Team Columbia (Image credit: Jon Devich)

By Shane Stokes in Nantes, France

It seems to many that the political situation within cycling is at perhaps an all-time low, with Tour organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) running this year's race outside any control of the UCI, and thus squaring off directly with the sport's governing body. There is also a lack of agreement on the biological passport after the former failed to pay its contribution to that programme.

However Team Columbia's Bob Stapleton doesn't see things as totally lost. He spoke to Cyclingnews in recent days and remains hopefully that things could be resolved.

"I think it is possible to sort it out, I personally believe that it is," he said. "I think people need to set aside historic differences, their political differences, their personal differences, and focus on one or two important things.

"One is on keeping the passport moving forward and really being progressive on anti-doping," he said. "The second is putting a structure in the sport that is logical and consistent, that sponsors can rely on, that fans have interest in and which creates a stability in the sport that is missing right now."

The obvious question is what will force that to happen, given that until now no lasting compromise has been found? He feels that common sense must ultimately prevail.

"I think the key is in realising that the common interest in sport should overpower these differences," he answered. "I think that is the key message and I think people understand that and are generally working in there right direction.

"I am optimistic, very much so," he added. "I don't think it needs an external mediator. I think the issues are down to very small ones and that someone, something, has to give."

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