Paris-Nice row deepens as UCI warns of 'consequences'

UCI accuses teams' rep of bending truth

Cyclists due to compete in the Paris-Nice event should ensure they respect the world governing body's regulations before taking part in a race which may have "unfortunate consequences" for them, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Saturday.

The first major European stage race of the season is to be held under a cloud after organisers controversially opted to hold it under the aegis of the French federation, and not the UCI, prompting racers to ask Paris-Nice organiser ASO to amend their proposed teams' contract.

Saturday's statement upped the ante once more as the UCI rejected a midweek statement by Eric Boyer, President of AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Teams), that all the teams had been consulted before a unanimous decision was reached to participate in the Paris-Nice.

"After having consulted several team managers, the UCI notes that Mr Boyer's statements do not correspond to the actual situation: several teams were not consulted. It is thus false to assert that the teams unanimously decided to participate in the Paris-Nice," the UCI statement read.

According to the UCI, "not only did a restricted number of team managers attend the AIGCP meeting, but the majority of these declared that they were opposed to the contents of the press release of 27 February.

"The truth is thus that the teams did not come out in favour of participation in the Paris-Nice irrespective of the conditions."

"The UCI considers it necessary, urgent and legitimate to question Mr Boyer's hurry to have the teams sign a contract proposed by ASO, which denies them, as well as the riders, basic rights in respect of the organiser, to be replaced by obligations without reciprocation."

A slew of races have been organised through ASO in agreement with the UCI and the latter organisation noted that "the only races that are still 'rogue' events, without regulation, are those organised by ASO in France."

The UCI warned that ASO wanted to impose a contract on racers in those events which would not give riders full protection as offered by UCI regulations.

"The UCI reminds riders that their participation in the Paris-Nice under these conditions could have several unfortunate consequences for them, in particular the lack of insurance in the event of an accident if the insurance companies refuse to cover a race held outside the regulations," the world body said.

It appealed to all teams "to respect UCI regulations as set out in the contract they have signed" and stressed the body wanted the Paris-Nice "to go ahead, but under the framework of UCI regulations."

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