Cycling: UCI gives teams ultimatum

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Teams that take part in the Paris-Nice cycle race starting tomorrow will eventually be "worked out" of the International Cycling Union (UCI), UCI president Pat McQuaid said yesterday.

"The UCI has made it quite clear to the teams that they needed to be aware of the decision they make," McQuaid said. "If they decide to go with [Paris-Nice organisers] ASO they have firmly taken the decision to be out of the UCI. We will work them out of the UCI."

Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), who also organise the Tour de France, and the UCI have been at odds over the Tour organisers' refusal to join the UCI ProTour due to a dispute over who competes in their events. "The ProTour system as it is today is completely bombed," McQuaid said. "We'd start on a new system with the teams, organisers and cyclists who wish to respect the regulations of the UCI," he said of what would happen if teams were kicked out. "What is at stake is the authority and autonomy of the UCI."

The week-long Paris-Nice race was dropped from the UCI's showcase ProTour calendar over the dispute with ASO but the organisers, in agreement with the teams and the French Cycling Federation (FFC), decided the event would go ahead outside UCI regulations. The FFC, its president Jean Pitallier and Eric Boyer, the president of the Association of Professional Cycling Teams, all face disciplinary proceedings because of their backing of the event, the UCI said.

The row between ASO and the UCI intensified last month when ASO said Astana, the new team of last year's Tour de France winner, Alberto Contador of Spain, would be barred from all events they organise, including the 2008 Tour, because of its implication in doping scandals.

RCS, organisers of the Giro among other races, are also in dispute with the UCI, and sports events director Angelo Zomegnan said he sympathised with ASO.