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Having only recently resolved a dispute with the ProTour teams about indemnity payments to cover costs during the Giro d'Italia, the race's organisers, RCS, find themselves in the centre of another dispute with the riders because of planned cuts in prize money. RCS has proposed cutting prize money from 1.3 to 1.1 million euros.
Francesco Moser, president of the Association of Professional Cyclists (ACP), issued a statement on Wednesday in which he called the plans "unacceptable" and saying that firm action would be taken.
"After the meeting we held recently in Lige and, above all, after the agreements we signed last year with the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC), we declare that professional riders are not predisposed to accept any reductions. The ACP and the Italian Professional Cyclists' Association are determined to make a stand on this issue in order to protect the rights of the main protagonists in the world of professional cycling."
At a recent meeting in Lige, the ACP agreed to press for an increase in the minimum wage paid to riders.
Moser added that it did not make sense to cut prizes when the profile of the race appeared to be bigger than ever this year. "It appears a real paradox that RCS are trying to cut the prize money destined for the riders while at the same time the start list is rich with real international stars." Prize money on offer at the Giro had previously remained unchanged since 2001.
There is no indication yet as to what action the ACP may take to protest against the cut in prizes, but rumours suggest some kind of demonstration might take place on the Giro's first rest day.
- Joseba Zubeldia, younger brother of Euskaltel team leader Haimar, has pulled out of the Giro after suffering diarrhoea and vomiting during Wednesday night. He will be replaced by new pro Igor Anton, who rode the recent Tour of Romandy and has impressed his team's management with his rapid adaptation to pro racing.
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