ProTour crisis averted...for now
Tuesday, March 6, 2007 12.00am
Paris-Nice will go ahead as planned, with at least 19 of the ProTour teams taking part after the UCI
PIC © TIM DE WAELE The major players in cycling have worked out a temporary solution to the Paris-Nice ProTour crisis, which threatened to tear the sport apart. At the end of a nine-hour meeting in Brussels on Monday, the UCI, grand tour organisers, and the IPCT (teams association) agreed that 18 of the 20 ProTour teams (Astana and Unibet.com excepted) will be allowed to race in all the events organised by ASO, RCS and Unipublic. Astana and Unibet may be granted wildcards at the organisers' discretion, provided that there are no legal obstacles. Astana has been given a spot for this Sunday's Paris-Nice, but it's not certain whether Unibet.com will be allowed to race. The Swedish team sponsored by an online sports betting company was prevented from showing its logo at early season races in France. This was because online gambling is illegal in France, unless it is with one of the state-sanctioned concerns like Franaise des Jeux or PMU. The organiser of the Etoile des Besseges, who allowed Unibet to show its name and logo, was fined and given a suspended jail sentence for the offence. Aside from the wildcards, it was also agreed that the ProTour logo would not be shown, and there would be no presentations at ASO, RCS and Unipublic races. But the current ProTour leader would be able to wear the white ProTour jersey in these events. The temporary agreement will last through the 2007 season, finishing on October 21. In the meantime, the UCI and the organisers will aim to meet once per month to reach a definitive solution for the coming seasons. "I am happy that the sport has got out of this crisis and look forward to a season where cycling can be the priority," said UCI president Pat McQuaid after the meeting. But it was also clear that the UCI did not get its own way in the dispute. "The UCI takes note of this unilateral position and states that it is not completely satisfied," read a UCI communiqu. "Consequently, the UCI reserves the right to concretely assess these future decisions and their consequences, notably regulatory. ASO, RCS and Unipublic reserve all their rights in this respect." ProTour teams allowed in major races: Ag2r - Prevoyance Bouygues Telecom Caisse d'Epargne Cofidis Lampre Fondital Liquigas Predictor-Lotto Quick Step - Innergetic Rabobank Credit Agricole Discovery Channel Euskaltel - Euskadi Franaise Des Jeux Gerolsteiner Saunier Duval - Prodir Team CSC Milram Team T-Mobile Races organised by ASO, RCS and Unipublic: Paris - Nice Tirreno Adriatico Milan - San Remo Paris - Roubaix Fleche Wallonne Liege - Bastogne - Liege Giro d'Italia Tour De France Vuelta a Espa¤a Paris - Tours Giro di Lombardia Got a comment? Discuss this in the
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