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Did the Tour de France and the UCI manage to find out how to continue together?

Added: monday 18 August 2008 at 23:33:00
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    Did the Tour de France and the UCI manage to find out how to continue together?As you probably know (since I explained the whole story here, here and here), the organisors of the grand tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España) have been in a conflict with UCI since several years already (since the end of 2004) about the UCI ProTour.

    However, the conflict seems to come to an end soon since the UCI today presented its plan for the future of professional cycling with which the Tour de France organisor would have agreed ...

    As a reminder, the main reason for the conflict were the selection rules for the participation of teams (UCI: all ProTour are automatically allowed to participate, ASO: wanted to continue to manage the team selection itself) and finally also the -sometimes hidden- goal of the UCI to obtain the TV broadcasting rights (UCI: wanted to package the broadcasting rights of all ProTour races and propose them together to broadcasters, ASO: wanted to keep one of its main revenue sources and thus the full management of its broadcasting rights).

    How the conflict might have come to an end

    It all started when Marie-Odile Amaury who manages the Editions Philippe Amaury group - owner of Amaury Sport Organisation, the organisor of sports events including in cycling especially but not only the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Tours, etc. - contacted the UCI a few weeks ago to make an end to the war between ASO and UCI (as a reminder: Paris-Nice and the Tour de France 2008 have been organised completely outside the UCI context, being supervided by the Fédération Française de Cyclisme).

    The UCI and the Editions Philippe Amaury group have had some negociations, led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC was especially represented by its president Jacques Rogge who asked one of its members, Jean-Claude Killy, himself former managing director of ASO (Société du Tour de France) from 1992 to 2001, to take up a mediator role in these discussions.

    The plan for the future of professional cycling

    The UCI president, Pat McQuaid, thus announced today in Beijing (where the Olympic Games currently take place) the plan for the future of professional cycling which is based on these discussions and which apparently takes into account certain wishes several actors in the world of professional cycling (teams, riders, organisers, federations, ...) have communicated.

    This plan is a two-stepped plan starting next year with the creation of a UCI World Calendar which will contain all monument races (the races organised by ASO, RCS and Unipublic especially) and the UCI ProTour races, combined with the creation of individual and team classifications for these races. The second part of the plan is about the definition of the participation rights for the teams starting from 2011: based on these classifications 17 teams of 9 riders or 18 teams of 8 riders (still to be decided) would automatically be selected for participation.

    Within the agreement which is currently being prepared, the UCI also confirmes it recognises the ASO's (and all other organisers') exclusive rights of ownership and operation (which is an important message especially for the TV broadcasting rights).

    The second step for the selection of teams for participation will only be applied to the Tour de France from 2011 since the participation rights for the Tour de France 2009 and 2010 have been agreed upon in the contract signed between ASO and the teams on June 18th for the participation in this year's Tour de France.

    The end of the conflict? Maybe, but that's not sure yet ...

    This plan has thus been presented officially by the UCI today and I think we can only recognise it's good news that the different interested parties have started talking again (instead of simply talking to each other through press releases ... as I suggested they should do at the end of this article in June) and that they all do some efforts to try to find a compromise.
    However, there are still some things left to do, because there's still some elements which need to be clarified:
    • the classifications of this new calendar are being used to determine participation rights for the races on this calendar, but how will the list of teams evolve over years? Will there be a system like in many sports in which for example the two last teams will be replaced by the two teams with the highest rankings in the second division (but then again: what exactly is the second division?) or not?
    • there's no solution for ethical incorrect behaviour: a team which doesn't respect the ethical rules in sport but which obtains good results can not be excluded from the classifications and can thus not be excluded from participating in the races which are part of it; A.S.O. initially wanted a system in which both results and the respect of ethical rules would be taken into account for selection
    • the Vuelta and Giro organisers apparently have given positive feedback about this plan, but to be sure discussions with them still need to be organised
    • the Editions Philippe Amaury group indicated in a press release it looked at this plan with hope and caution adding that for the time being no agreement has been signed and that important meetings need to be organised in September/October; its president said she thought this is a big step forward but added that there's still many other steps to take for cycling to get back in smooth waters. We, together with the ASO management, are willing to take these steps, with hope and caution. To do this all, I clearly say all, interested parties in our sport, must be happy with it

    A complete reintegration of the Fédération Française de Cyclisme (FFC) in the UCI ...

    The UCI seized the occasion of sending out the press release about the new plan to indicate that the organisation hopes this new plan will also allow to stop the various proceedings under way, which would allow for a complete reintegration of the Fédération Française de Cyclisme within the UCI.

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Tour de France| Olympic Games| UCI ProTour| Tour de France 2011 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 4 comments!
  1. Klinkt hoopvol... afwachten of de ruzie nu opgelost is / gaat worden?!?!

    | Meggie | tuesday 19 August 2008 at 10:24:39


    | ZICARI BRUNI NANCY | thursday 05 March 2009 at 10:27:23

  3. Die Tour de France ist ein torso.

    | Friedrich Hofko | monday 18 October 2010 at 8:54:34

  4. http://www.cyclisme-roltiss-over.com/article-photos-et-videos-presentation-tour-de-france-2011-59233631.html

    | TISSIER | tuesday 19 October 2010 at 19:46:27

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