Latest: French to break ranks?; Broken rib for Kroon; Grillo too high

It's still uncertain which teams will race in Paris-Nice, although most of the French teams say they

It's still uncertain which teams will race in Paris-Nice, although most of the French teams say they
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM French teams to break ranks in Paris-Nice? At least four French teams have indicated their desire to start in Paris-Nice on March 11, despite a ban by the UCI. La Franaise des Jeux, Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis and Ag2r Prevoyance told the press last Saturday that they would be on the start line in Issy-les-Moulineaux. But UCI president Pat McQuaid told them, "If you take the decision, in violation of the rules, to participate in Paris-Nice, the rules will impose very harsh penalties against you." Franaise des Jeux team manager Marc Madiot responded in his L'Equipe column, "I have a contract with my sponsor, with my riders, but also with the UCI and the ProTour, which still figures somewhere in Paris-Nice. I have filled a book with costs to get a licence, and today I am respecting my engagements. I don't imagine that I will be sanctioned. By virtue of doing that, it would prevent people from doing their jobs fairly." The issue will be debated this Friday by the international cycling teams association. Paris-Nice is not the only early season race that is going against UCI ProTour rules. Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, which start a few days later, also haven't invited ProTour team Unibet.com, despite a UCI stipulation to the contrary. Broken rib for Kroon Team CSC's Karsten Kroon has had another setback in the early part of the season, as he has been diagnosed with a broken rib following the Tour of California. Kroon actually broke it on the first day in a crash, but managed to finish the race anyway. He did not realise that something was wrong until Tuesday, when he returned home to Europe. "Last night I sat up in bed to sneeze and I almost passed out from the pain," Kroon said on team-csc.com. "There was no doubt something was wrong and I went straight to the hospital this morning. As it turned out there was a gap of about one centimetre in the fracture. "I crashed during the first stage in California and I did go to the hospital after to get x-rays done. But they only took pictures of the front, where everything was fine. When I crashed I hit a pole both at the front and the back of my body and apparently the damage was at the back." Kroon hopes that his time off will be short. "I don't know how long it'll take, but I'm hoping to be able to race again in a couple of weeks, even though it'll probably hurt a lot longer than that," he said. "My rib was put back together this morning and I also had some massage and some tape put on, but there's not much else you can do about it. So now I'll just have to wait for it to heal. "This is the worst start to a season ever for me. First I fractured my wrist and now my rib. But I'll make a strong comeback for sure." Grillo DNS in Valenciana Italian sprinter Paride Grillo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) was prevented from starting in the Vuelta Valenciana on Tuesday due to a high haematocrit. Grillo was the only rider to fail the blood check, which was carried out on 48 riders from Panaria, Euskaltel, Benfica, Karpin Galicia, Grupo Nicolas Mateos and Relax-Gam. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.

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