UCI takes action against grand toursClose
The UCI ProTour versus the grand tour organizers fight is set to go to the European Comission. WillPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM The UCI has decided to complain to the European Commission about what it terms is the "anti-competitive conduct of the organizers of the Grands Tours." The world governing body for cycling issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon to this effect, accusing the organizers of acting "as a cartel in order to protect their own dominant position in the field of professional road cycling. In particular the organizers of the Grands Tours have deliberately tried to undermine the development of the UCI ProTour. This conduct is detrimental to the interest of teams, riders and the wider development of cycling in Europe and in the world as a whole." Negotiations between the two major players in cycling have not yet succeeded in reaching a solution. The grand tours have never been willing to accept that they are the key part of the ProTour, which guarantees the top teams starts in the best races. Their oft-repeated argument is that they don't want to see their events be part of a closed system. So far, however, the grand tours have been willing to play ball with the UCI. They have always granted all the ProTour teams the right to start in their races. But recently, the organizers said that they would restrict the number of automatically qualified teams to their events to 18 this year, and 16 in 2008. That would allow for a more open system with more control back in the organizers' hands, similar to pre-ProTour times. This has thrown the ball back to the UCI, which says now that it has "no alternative other than to seek intervention by the European Commission in this matter." This may actually move the whole debate forward, as in the past, the organizers have also voiced their concerns that the ProTour system goes against EU law. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.