Verbruggen: Power is key issue
Hein Verbruggen, who recently stepped down as UCI president, tells procycling that the arguments ove
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Contacted by procycling this afternoon, former UCI president Hein Verbruggen said that he felt the decision of the major tours to pull their events from the ProTour was a matter of power politics.
Verbruggen told procycling: “My first reaction is one of amusement. The UCI had already taken the decision that in 2006 we would maintain the status quo and that the ProTour would continue as it had done in 2005. This was accepted by the teams. So this agreement exists as an obligation for the teams to participate in all ProTour events in 2006. Now they’re offering to pay for participation in the top three tours anyway.
“We’re still in control and I’m sorry to be blunt but this is just a lot of crap. Maybe it was a personality conflict between myself and Patrice Clerc, of ASO, but they just want the power in cycling. Pat McQuaid (new UCI President) has tried to resolve things but he’s had the same experience as me. You cannot have different structures and classifications without the UCI. So we haven’t lost face. They have, they have lost this battle.
“They said to me that they didn’t like the ProTour because they felt it was an American system, and they didn’t want that, but then they offer to pay the teams! What’s more American than that? Power is the key issue here, because it’s a struggle between old and new. They can’t believe it’s not 1975 anymore.”