Major tours hit out at UCI

ajor tours circle the wagons in face of perceived attack from UCI, breaks for two Belgian riders, U

ajor tours circle the wagons in face of perceived attack from UCI, breaks for two Belgian riders, U


The organisers of the three major tours have hit out at what they perceive as an attempt by the International Cycling Union to divide them. In a joint communiqu released in response to yesterday's UCI-backed threat by the ProTour teams to pull out of the Giro d'Italia unless indemnity payments are made, the organisers of the Giro, Tour and Vuelta affirm that they are "solidly united in the face of attempts by the UCI to divide them".

The communiqu from the major tours states that they "cannot - and don't consider it possible - accept the authority of a new organisation known as the CUPT (the UCI's ProTour Council), which replaces the current Professional Cycling Council."

The major tours have taken umbrage at what they believe is side-taking by an organisation that should, according to them, be looking after the interests of pro cycling as a whole. Consequently, the major tours have insisted that they will be attempting to resolve the indemnity issue by negotiating with the Association of Professional Cycling Teams and the Association of Professional Riders.

The communiqu also stated that any threat to withdraw from "one of the major events organised in 2005 by RCS, ASO or Unipublic would constitute an unacceptable violation of the accords of December 1, 2004." These accords established the framework for the participation of the 20 ProTour teams in the three major tours and other major races despite serious objections by the three major tour organisers to the ProTour series.

- There are injury problems for two Belgian riders. Davitamon-Lotto's Mario Aerts broke his collar-bone in a training ride crash on Wednesday, while Discovery Channel's Leif Hoste has been told that he suffered a fractured thorax and damage to a lung when he crashed at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

- American cyclist Adam Bergman has been suspended for two years by the US Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for the blood-booster EPO. Bergman was tested prior to last year's Tour de Georgia and had been provisionally suspended since July 2006.

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