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Cycling facts of the past week: UCI and Paris-Nice, UCI and Alberto Contador, team selection Tour de France 2008 and the end of CSC's sponsor contract

Added: wednesday 19 March 2008 at 0:20:00
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    Cycling facts of the past week: UCI and Paris-Nice, UCI and Alberto Contador, team selection Tour de France 2008 and the end of CSC's sponsor contractLast week was of course the Paris-Nice 2008 week, but there were some other news facts in cycling world. For example the rift between UCI and the AIGCP, UCI's support to Alberto Contador, the team selection for the Tour de France 2008 but also Tirreno-Adriatico and the announcement of the end of the CSC team sponsor contract ...

    The rift between UCI and the AIGCP

    If you read my blog from time to time you probably know the history of the conflict between ASO and UCI in which the teams got involved with their participation in Paris-Nice.
    As requested by its organisor (ASO), Paris-Nice has been organised under the responsability of the FFC and not under UCI's responsability. UCI therefore marked this race as illegale cycling race and asked the teams and their riders not to participate while threatening them with penalties and suspensions.

    The teams are associated in the Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP) of which Eric Boyer (the manager of the Cofidis team) is the president. Eric Boyer had asked the different teams which are part of this association (and the other teams which received an invitation to this edition of Paris-Nice) their view and a majority decided to participate in this ASO organised race.

    UCI again indicated they did not agree with this and even started an official procedure against the FFC, its president Jean Pitallier and Eric Boyer.
    According to the French sports newspaper L'Equipe UCI announced last Friday in a press release that it cut off all official contacts with the AIGCP: We are now forced to cut off all official contacts with the AIGCP. I hope this is a temporary situation. In the mean time UCI will continue to do its work by inviting directly the managers as observers in its different meetings.

    Eric Boyer of course immediately replied to this by saying: I showed my independence which means I'm a disturbing factor. I regret this attitude, especially since I asked for an open discussion. I went to Switzerland to meet the president of the UCI. This is their answer ... Inviting some managers, that is inviting those who agree with you, means they want to force a division in the teams.

    In addition to this, the UCI today published a press release in which they say they preferred not to do any announcements during Paris-Nice to allow the riders to concentrate on the race (how nice! ;-) and that they are currently investigating the consequences that will apply to those who breached its rules.
    UCI adds: As far as the riders and their teams are concerned, the UCI will ask for measures appropriate to the situation. A meeting with riders has been scheduled for 25 March, when any relevant information can be exchanged. Furthermore, UCI reminds that ASO does not want to take up its races Paris-Roubaix (13 April 2008), the Tour de France (5th till 27th July 2008) and Paris-Tours (12 October 2008) in the UCI calender.

    The UCI supports - according to its president Pat McQuaid - Alberto Contador

    Some further news for which the UCI was at its origin last Friday was the support to Alberto Contador for his participation in the Tour de France according to Pat McQuaid, the UCI president.

    You probably remember that ASO announced on 13 February the team selection for Paris-Nice and also announced the exclusion of the Astana team of all ASO organised races this year. ASO thus took from Alberto Contador - the winner of the Tour de France 2007 and of Paris-Nice 2007 - his possibility to defend his titles in the Tour de France and in Paris-Nice.

    In the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Pat McQuaid announced last Friday that he wants to defend Alberto Contador - symbol of the new cycling - if he decides to challenge ASO's decision. McQuaid announced this just after a meeting with Jaime Lissavetzky, the Spanish secretary of State for Sport.

    We can't do much against an organisor who doesn't want to respect the rules, as we have seen with Paris-Nice. If Contador decides to appeal against this decision in Spanish or international court myself and the UCI will testify in his favour.

    Contador normally doesn't plan to do this but has decided to concentrate this year on the Olympic Games and the Vuelta a España.

    Despit this McQuaid continues: I know Contador and the people around him and I know he's a clean and honest rider.
    I'm not going to bet on this but I trust that ASO will come back on its decision and will let Contador participate in the Tour de France

    The team selection for the Tour de France soon to be announced!

    ASO definitely knows how definitely knows how to keep some suspense ... not only from a sports point of view with a very exciting Paris-Nice, but also concerning the team selection for the Tour de France 2008.

    We know that Astana shouldn't be part of that selection, but the full list of teams which will be at the start in Brest is still not known! During a meeting between ASO and the teams (the AIGCP) the morning before the last Paris-Nice 2008 stage (last Sunday), they have decided that ASO will announce this list this week.

    The goal of the meeting also was to discuss the conditions for participation in ASO organised races in 2008. Eric Boyer said: It looks like they will take place in the same context as Paris-Nice. If that's indeed the case we will negociate our conditions for participation as we did for Paris-Nice.
    Eric Boyer also added something about the end of the relationship between the UCI and the teams: Pat McQuaid can still come back to us to start a discussion. He should not forget that at the end of the day it's the riders who are on the pedals and he should let us know he understood what we want, that is cycling!

    The end of CSC's cycling sponsoring

    In a press release the IT company Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) announced last Thursday it will stop sponsoring the Riis Cycling cycling team at the end of the current contract, that is on 31 December 2008.

    In the press release CSC says the decision reflects a shift in priorities as the company makes new investments to implement a strategic long-term growth plan.

    Henrik Bo Pedersen, responsible for this sponsoring at CSC, told in the press release that Our involvement in the sport of cycling has been a positive and productive experience. We will continue to support the team and exercise our sponsorship rights during the 2008 race season. At the same time, we are committed to helping the team secure a new title sponsor.

    Bjarne Riis - the team manager - said this is the beginning of something new for us and I know we can handle it and that we can show the world that we will continue. I'm optimistic about the future, despite the challenges cycling as a sport is currently facing.

    The IT company didn't say whether the sponsor contract they have with ASO for Paris-Nice and the Tour de France will also come to an end, but that will probably be the case.

    The positive news for the team today was that the Swiss Fabian Cancellara took the overall victory in Tirreno-Adriatico. What else would you want to have to celebrate your 27th birthday than to win this prestigious Italian stage race?
    Fabian Cancellara during the Tour de France 2007
    Fabian Cancellara during the Tour de France 2007

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Cycling general (except Tour de France)| Paris-Nice| Tour de France 2008 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 2 comments!
  1. A noter que le parcours dans Brest entre départ fictif et départ réél a été revu par A.S.O. la mairie de Brest et France Télévision pour cause d'images en fond d'écran...Les rues Brestoises de la ville ont été préférées aux quais et grues du port.

    | pascal | wednesday 19 March 2008 at 0:42:48

  2. Oui, effectivement je l'avais lu ... mais pas eu le temps de le prendre en compte parce que je voulais du coup mettre à jour mon fichier le Tour de France 2008 en Google Earth et comme ASO a également publié sans aucune annonce pendant Paris-Nice (le jeudi je crois) les itinéraires horaires de la 9ième et de la 10ième étape je voulais tout faire d'un coup ...

    Si je ne suis pas trop fatigué en rentrant de Londres ce soir je le ferai ce soir, sinon ça sera demain ou vendredi !

    | Thomas Vergouwen | wednesday 19 March 2008 at 5:25:28

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