The French Cycling Federation is stepping into the battle between the UCI and ASO, saying it will hePIC BY SAUNIER DUVAL French federation steps in for Paris-Nice The French Cycling Federation (FFC) has confirmed that it will assist in the running of Paris-Nice (March 11-18), the first major stage race on the road calendar. The FFC will ensure that the race is run under the correct rules, meaning that a UCI presence is not critical in order for it to go ahead. To this end, the FFC will send its own commissaires to Paris-Nice, with help from the Italian and Spanish federations. But the UCI is likely to have something to say about this development, which is widening the gap between it and the grand tour organisers and various cycling federations. On Wednesday, FFC president Jean Pitallier signed an agreement with ASO, the organiser of Paris-Nice. "This is a way of saving a race which forms part of cycling's culture," he told AFP. "This is an exceptional situation and it requires an exceptional response." The FFC also issued a communiqu stating that it was stepping in "with the sole goal to safeguard this event, which is of premier importance for the heritage of French sport." The deal is legal under French law, but the FFC specified that it was not a long term solution, and wants the UCI and ASO to sort out their differences. "The FFC ... is looking for a realistic and constructive solution to the particularly distressing impasse that threatens the continuation of a season that started so badly, and beyond that, the future of competitive cycling." The conflict isn't just limited to France. RCS Sport, the organisers of the Giro d'Italia, recently confirmed the team list for the first grand tour of the year. Although most (19) of the ProTour teams have been invited, Unibet.com has not, meaning that RCS is also flying in the face of the UCI. RCS granted three additional Giro spots to Tinkoff Credit Systems, Acqua & Sapone and Panaria-Navigare. ProTour team Astana was also classed as a wild card instead of an automatic invite. Voskamp to organise Eneco Tour Dutch ex-pro Bart Voskamp will take over from Henk van Mulukom as one of the organisers of the Eneco Tour (August 21st-29th). Voskamp will join Belgian Rob Discart in running the Dutch/Belgian stage race. Saunier Duval to use Science in Sport products The Saunier Duval-Prodir team will be using Science in Sport nutrition products in 2007. After CSC, it's the second ProTour team that SiS is sponsoring. Team manager Mauro Gianetti commented, "Saunier Duval Prodir welcomes SiS to the team, as a new partner. We are very happy with this new collaboration. Science in Sport manufactures high quality sports nutrition products that will provide our riders with their energy needs for a very demanding sport." Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.