Posted by Editor on 03/6/08
UCI-ASO Update & CCA President's Remarks
Yesterday we provided a synopsis on the ongoing battle between the UCI and Tour de France organizer (ASO) concerning possible fines and sanctions to riders and teams that participate in Paris-Nice, which starts this weekend (see Daily News: March 5/08 11:00 am EST - UCI Theatens Fines & Sanctions for Paris-Nice Participation). Since then there has been little change.
High Road has now pulled George Hincapie and Roger Hammond from the squad for the race, and Michael Barry has been switched to Driedaagse West Vlaanderen in Belgium, it appears. The UCI President, Pat McQuaid, has offered one brief glimmer of hope as a way out of the impasse, by suggesting that the teams can revoke the UCI rule of automatic invites to the Tour for the ProTour squads. If they do that, then one of the main sticking points between the UCI and ASO goes away. However, the fundamental point of contention remains - who has ultimate authority of which teams get entry to the top events, which are controlled by a few corporate entities.
We spoke for a few minutes with CCA President Pierre Blanchard about the situation, who offers a perspective as both the president of one of the national bodies which makes up the UCI (and whose riders could potentially be affected), and as a UCI official who has served on UCI Commissions and worked the Tour de France.
"First of all, we must recognize that Canada is not a big player in this situation, and at this time there are no Canadian riders in the Paris-Nice. But, in my personal interpretation of the situation, the statements made by the UEC (European Union of Cycling Federations) and USA Cycling are very close to what I would agree with."
"Cycling cannot afford to be divided, so we need to sit at the same table and discuss everything. The ProTour does need to be looked at, and the French Cycling Federation did not take the right approach, because we (federations) need to follow UCI rules. The UCI is the international body, and we need to go according to the rules."
The UCI has also published the text of Mr McQuaid's speech to the UEC Congress, where the UCI President provides a blunt assessment of the situation. This is a PDF that will download.
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