Posted by Editoress on 02/22/08
McQuaid Makes Contradictory Statement on UCI Position on Tour Entries
After today's stage, the usual press conference was held with the winners. However, UCI president Pat McQuaid also attended and answered questions on a variety of topics. Of primary interest were two topics - Astana's ban from ASO events (including the Tour de France) and the growth of the Amgen Tour of California. These two topics merged in a strange contradictory way over the exclusion of Symmetrics fom the AToC.
McQuaid clearly stated that the UCI feels that the Astana decision by the ASO is "completely unjust and not consistent. They say that the Tour was damaged, but several teams damaged the Tour last year, not just one. The Astana team this year is completely new management, new riders, new anti-doping program and they have instituted the biological passport program. The decision was made for non-sporting reasons by non-cyclists; it is completely wrong."
McQuaid clearly said that it was dangerous and wrong for organizers to be deciding which teams could enter an event. "The best teams should be entered."
However, when I asked him about the situation regarding Symmetrics not being invited to the AToC because organizers wanted to support U.S. teams, and what message it sent when the top team in the UCI America Continental Tour was not invited, McQuaid said "It is the right of organizers to invite the teams they want."
The press corps looked at each other in disbelief: had he just implicitly said that ASO had the right to choose their own teams? Or was it somehow different for AToC than it was for the Grand Tour organizers?
The press conference abruptly ended shortly after this.
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