We don’t need no stinkin’ ProTour
While we were all snug on our sofas watching the Tour of California, the ASO upped the stakes in the ongoing battle between the Grand Tours and the UCI by removing the first big race from the ProTour. Paris-Nice set to begin on March 11th will be a”French” race and outside the aupices of the UCI.
“The President of the UCI confirmed that the race would take place outside of the sporting frame of the UCI if A.S.O. refused to join the ”UCI Pro-Tour” circuit, insisting on his will to impose this closed circuit with an economical vocation that A.S.O., as well as the organisers of the Giro and the Vuelta legitimately refuse to take part in since its creation.
Taking the position of the UCI into consideration and seeing the threat that is weighing on the organisation of the race, A.S.O. finds itself in the obligation of taking all the necessary measures allowing to safeguard an event that has a leading role in international cycling’s heritage, and confirms that ”Paris-Nice” will take place as planned from the 11th to the 18th of March 2007.
In these exceptional circumstances, and wanting to guarantee the integrity and credibility of the event, A.S.O. will organise the race according to the French law and has therefore solicited the French Cyling Federation (FFC) in order to establish an agreement insuring in particular the respect of the technical regulation.
During these discussions, the President of A.S.O. once again asked for a meeting to be organised with all the main actors of professional cycling. It is indeed, according to him, the only way to consider a solution to this serious crisis born from a bad reform that the UCI has wanted to assess despite a necessary consensus.
A.S.O. deeply regrets that its demand has been turned down by the President of the UCI who intends to make of A.S.O. the only responsible of this crisis, while already in June 2006, the UCI had reduced to nothing the efforts of a work group that had yet found a common agreement in which it had contributed.”
The UCI fired back by first trying to keep the ProTour teams from attending. That went over well with the teams. Then the UCI started to show a little panic by saying that this means the race will be a doping fest since the international community will not be there to insure that testing is done in a high quality (sic) manner.
Looks like high noon has come.