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Unipublic, organisers of August’s Vuelta a Espa¤a, are proposing to install TV cameras in team cars and to provide an audio link-up with riders’ earpieces so that viewers can hear the instructions being given by team managers. Although approval has yet to be given by the teams, the proposals would give watching fans a better idea of what is taking place inside the race.
– French seed company RAGT Semences are to pull their backing from their continental division team at the end of this season, a year earlier than was expected when they came into the sport in 2004. Company boss Alain Fabre blamed the changes at the top level of the sport for the decision. The French team were not selected for the Tour de France, and did not get invites to Paris-Nice or the Dauphin Libr races earlier this season.
“Cycling has changed and we have not been able to adjust to the demands made,” Fabre told L’Equipe. “We can’t even offer our riders a complete calendar of races any longer. Good sense obliges us to call it a day.” Team boss Serge Barle told the paper he is talking with a French and a Finnish company, but says that he is unlikely to complete a new sponsorship deal until the 2007 season.
“I am not against the ProTour,” said Barle, “but nobody seems to be concerned with the second level down. Cycling’s administrators have dug a ditch for us and we’ve fallen right into it. We expected this might happen, but it is still a shock.” Fourteen of the team’s 18 riders are out of contract at the end of the season. The team has yet to win a race this season.