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Track hopefuls skip Paris-Nice

Team High Road's Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will skip Paris-Nice after the UCI threatened suspensions for any rider who participates in Paris-Nice. The pair are scheduled to race the UCI World Track Championships in Manchester at the end of March, and need the opportunity to earn points toward qualification for the Olympic Games. Wiggins, the reigning pursuit Olympic and World Champion, could also face exclusion from the Olympic Games if the UCI's threats are borne out.

Cavendish told the Guardian, "I'm a little bit disappointed, but it's not our fault. We are innocent people trying to do a job and are losing out because of a controversy that is going on," he said. The 22 year-old will now ride in Tirreno-Adriatico as preparation for the track worlds, while Wiggins will look for another major race. Brian Cookson, president of the British cycling federation, said he hoped the matter could be resolved, "otherwise our sport will break apart."

Cavendish's team-mate Linus Gerdemann told the dpa that he wasn't directly affected by the UCI's threats of sanctions over
participation in Paris-Nice. "I was planning to start in Italy anyway," meaning Tirreno-Adriatico. He regretted "that we riders are being dragged into this fight between the UCI and the ASO. To be punished for racing -- that's just impossible."

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